06 Sep 2010

Zebra Shark

Stegostoma fasciatum

Zebra Shark - Stegostoma fasciatum

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 235 cm TL male/unsexed; 233 cm TL (female)

Reef-associated; amphidromous; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 63 m, usually 5 - 30 m

Climate / Range
Tropical; 26°C - 29°C; 41°N - 30°S, 32°E - 169°W

Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to New Caledonia, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales, Australia. Recently recorded from Tonga.

Short description
Head with 5 small gill slits, the last three behind pectoral fin origin; nostril close to front of snout, with short barbels and nasoral grooves connecting them with the mouth.Very long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body, with a deep subterminal notch but with the lower lobe hardly developed. Yellow-brown with dark brown spots, young black with yellow bars. Adults with longitudinal skin ridges which are lacking in young. Juveniles smaller than about 70 cm, markedly different; dark with white bars and spots; pale ventrally. Pectoral fins large and broadly rounded.

A tropical inshore shark found on sand, rubble, or coral bottoms of the continental and insular shelves. Recorded to have entered freshwater. Rather sluggish at least during the day. Probably nocturnal, feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes. Also known to eat crustaceans and sea snakes. Oviparous. Slow-swimming and able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channel in reefs while searching for food. Readily kept in captivity. May bite when provoked. Utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption and also for fishmeal; livers processed for vitamins; fins dried for the oriental sharkfin trade; offal utilized for fishmeal. Possibly reaching 354 cm TL. Caught in drift net intended for sharks. Reported from freshwater in the Philippines but needs to be confirmed.



14 Aug 2010

Arabian Butterflyfish

Chaetodon melapterus

Arabian Butterflyfish - Chaetodon melapterus

Size / Weight / Age
Max length : 13.0 cm TL male/unsexed

Reef-associated; marine

Climate / Range

Western Indian Ocean: Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman; off the Red Sea coast of Yemen and other islands to the south. Although the type locality was stated to be Reunion and cited by several references as occurring there, it is probably erroneous; the species apparently does not occur in the Mascarenes.

Found in coral rich areas of shallow coastal reefs. Occasionally in aggregations. Feed exclusively on coral polyps. Oviparous. Form pairs during breeding.



13 Jul 2010

‘CrowdFund’ your creative project

‘CrowdFund’ your creative project is an online platform created to help creative entrepreneurs raise funds for their projects through ‘crowdfunding’

At the weekend I found this great idea and website called It’s been around for over a year – since April 2009 – so you might have already heard of it, and perhaps already helped to fund a project. If you’ve no idea what it is read on…

The idea is simple, as all the best ones are. Individuals or groups who require funding for their creative project (art, movies, music, design, comic books, etc.) set up a profile on the site then write a description or upload a video of what they’re trying to achieve and how much money they need to raise. Projects range from individuals trying to get their first graphic novel published through to large teams funding entire movies.

Visitors to the site are then invited to contribute to the total through credit card transactions - these contributions can be as large or small as you like. In return for the contribution, or ‘pledge’, donors are offered gifts by the project’s owner. This might be a copy of the finished item, in the case of a book or poster, or a mention in the credits, invitation to the premiere or even a walk-on part for a film.

Pledges are accepted right up until the deadline, even if the target has already been reached and exceeded. This means highly successful projects can rake in as much as 900% over and above their target. This often prompts the owners to ‘upgrade’ their projects and offer more gifts.

A key aspect of the scheme is that if the project’s target isn’t reached by a set deadline, the credit card donations are not processed, no-one has incurred any expense and the project has essentially failed. This makes the scheme a great barometer for testing the potential market of creative projects.

The scheme is currently limited to projects based in the USA (a US bank account and address is required to register a project) but visitors from anywhere in the world are able to pledge donations. Projects posted on the scheme that reach their target are required to pay a 5% fee to

Take a look here.


04 Apr 2010

Numbers in the Middle East - A brief introduction

The purpose of this post to give readers a quick primer regarding the two common types of numbers used in the Middle East.

I’m planning a series of short articles on common problems and solutions when typesetting Arabic copy, this post hopefully goes some way into defining a few of the terms that might come up later down the line.

The figures which are used in contemporary western typography, i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc. are what we commonly call ‘Arabic Numerals’ (numerals just being a posh word for number). A common place this term is found is when referring to clock dials - either Roman Numerals - Fig.1 or Arabic Numerals - Fig. 2.


Technically, the numbers 1 thru to 9 were developed in the 9th century by Indian mathematicians and then adopted and refined by the Persians into what we know today. From Persia the numbers were past West, reaching Europe in the Middle Ages where they would eventually replace Roman Numerals as the standard numerical format.

Numbers which you often see used in Arabic writing are, strictly speaking, Eastern Arabic Numerals but are usually referred to in the Middle East as Hindi Numerals. In this image of an old-style Abu Dhabi car license plate you can see the the ‘Hindi Numerals’ along the top row and the ‘Arabic Numerals’ on the bottom row.


This image also illustrates another important point to remember when dealing with numbers in the Middle East. Although words, sentences and paragraphs in Arabic are written from right to left, numbers are always written from left to right.

As you can imagine, understanding numbers when typesetting in English and Arabic becomes very important.


15 Mar 2010

Comment tags in CSS

I had fun today wondering why my site wasn’t displaying properly until I discovered that CSS comment tags are different to HTML comment tags

Without wanting to turn this blog into another boring web developer ‘how-to’ site, I thought I’d share an experience I had today when consolidating a number of CSS files into one big, mother-ship CSS file.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Google Webmaster Tools had very kindly pointed out that my site wasn’t as efficient as it could have been. One of the ways it suggested I remedy the problem was to remove any unnecessary CSS files, or consolidate my CSS into one file. I decided to take its advice and set about copying my pasting the various parts of my CSS files into one file. It’s important to be careful doing this as CSS is read from the top down and your browser takes your final instruction on how to format a tag as the one it follows. Getting your CSS mixed up causes all kinds of weird and ‘experimental-looking’ effects.

I thought I’d be smart and add comments into my CSS file so I knew what was what when I came back and wanted to change something. Last week I spent a while commenting some HTML files and I’d remembered that the format was:


Easy peasy. I commented all my CSS, hit save and went to review the site. Oh dear. things didn’t look the way I wanted them to. I spent a long time double-checking I’d not accidentally removed a stray curly bracket or comma until I found another piece of commented CSS left over from a previous edit… Ah-ha! The correct format to comment CSS is:

/* comment */

Hope this saves someone else a few hours of frustration.