This week’s fascination with brooding shrimp in Lembeh caused us to look a bit more closely into shrimp relationships. It all started with one simple question from a guest: are female shrimp bigger than the males? According to our Tropical Pacific Reef Creature Identification guide (Humann and Deloach), you can often times distinguish the gender of a shrimp based on its living arrangement, but not necessarily by its size. For example, if you happen upon a single set of shrimp, such as the beautiful Coleman’s Shrimp pictured above, you can assume that the larger of the two shrimp is the female.
Go on: take a guess! What type of Frogfish do you think this is?
Surprisingly, it is an Antennarius striatus, or what is commonly referred to as a Hairy Frogfish. As it turns out the Hairy Frogfish comes in all hair lengths in Lembeh, including extremely short hair! Since this is a little known fact amongst our guests, this cool little critter caused a bit of a stir when it was spotted as a mated couple to a long-haired Hairy Frogfish. The guests were sure they were witnessing “inter-species” coupling!
What does a guest who has visited Two Fish Lembeh 17 times over the past 6 years find new and fascinating on her current visit to the area? Ornate Ghost Pipefish that are carrying eggs! Her excitement, in turn, has made all the guests a bit more interested in the reproductive lives of Lembeh’s Pipefish…
Have you ever noticed that the majority of Anemonefish in Lembeh have tongue-biting isopods in their mouth? Most of the isopods are so small they are hardly noticeable. This week, however, this large, female Cheek-Spine Anemonefish put on quite the show as she gaped at divers, showing off her over-sized creepy critter.
Seventh and Ninth-time return guests to the region were excited by their first Cryptic Shrimp sighting in Lembeh this week! These cool little critters so perfectly resemble the sponge they inhabit that they are nearly impossible to differentiate from their background. The Cryptic Shrimp’s innate ability to perfectly blend in with its surroundings is a type of crypsis camouflage: an animal’s natural-born ability to visually blend in with its habitat in order to avoid predation.
“Camouflage” is a fascinating behavior that many Lembeh animals partake in as they take on the characteristics of an unrelated, inanimate object, simply hoping to go unnoticed by predators. Juvenile Orbicular Batfish are a perfect example of such a critter. Lacking toxins or venomous spines, they spend their juvenile months perfectly camouflaged as fallen leaves as they float about in small schools under the piers and oyster-farms of Lembeh. What would otherwise be a small, tasty morsel for a passing predator is dismissed as an uninteresting, inedible leaf. As the Orbicular Batfish reaches a more formidable size (topping out around 28cm/11in), they no longer depend on camouflage and transform into a completely different looking fish!
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Have you ever marveled at how knowledgeable your Lembeh dive guide is? How do they know the names of individual Nudibranches off the top of their head? How do they know which animals are mating and which animals are fighting? And how do they know where to look for all the camouflaged animals they find? Their knowledge may stem from the many hundreds of dives they’ve done in Lembeh. But it may also be due to some of the wonderful resources at their disposal. For those of you that are interested in learning a bit more about the Lembeh critters yourselves, this blog is for you…
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Due to all the Starry Night Octopus and Starry Blennies in Lembeh this week, an old, classic Holiday tune was re-born. “O Starry Night, your Eyes are Brightly Shining…” I sang to myself as we watched a beautiful Starry Night Octopus dance across the reef during a night dive. Unlike many other varieties of octopus, which slip into the closest hole at the first sign of light, the Starry Night is rather intrigued by dive lights. (Click on the Two Fish website link to read more…)
Have you ever glanced over at your dive buddy, only to notice a Remora stuck to their tank? This week diving in Lembeh, we were accosted by a small “gang” of Remoras who chased about from diver to diver, attempting to attach to fins, knee-pads, bellies and dive tanks! The Remoras would normally attach to larger fish, such as turtles and sharks, latching on for a free ride about the reef and feeding on the food scraps of their hosts. But for lack of larger animals in their immediate vicinity, the Remora’s attention turned to the divers!
Although most of my Divemaster course in Bunaken is done, this week I had a chance to spend a few days at our sister resort in Lembeh.
This Week in Lembeh … all Critters have Eggs in Lembeh, and sometimes it takes a camera to spot them!
Have you ever reviewed your dive photos only to notice something in your photos that you completely missed in person? That is one of the many reasons I enjoy underwater photography so much: it allows you to see things post-dive that may not be easily apparent to the naked eye.
The muck diving in Lembeh revealed a variety of Melibe this week! While we were seeing Melibe viridis (Green Melibe Nudibranches) earlier in the year, this week we are seeing smaller, yet no less impressive varieties: The Melibe megaceras, Melibe engeli and the rare Melibe colemani.
We have been in Lembeh since 2007, in fact we were the 3rd operator in Lembeh after Lembeh Resort and Kungkungan Bay Resort! Over this time we have come to consider that October is probably the best time to dive Lembeh, here are some of the reasons why we think this is so.
We often get emails from people who are planning dive trips to Indonesia and want to know where the best places for diving are, and what we can suggest for a 8-10 day stay. This is actually very hard to provide, its like asking to give suggestions for a 8-10 day stay for skiing in europe!
However, we can provide some of the considerations that you need to take into account when you are planning dive trips to Indonesia, and we can provide some recommendations based on this.
This week in Lembeh…. It’s Melibe Madness! We have been seeing Green Melibe’s (Melibe Viridis) Nudibranchs in quite a few different spots. These large and odd looking Nudies can grow up to 12cm and are usually found searching the ground with their oral hood for its next meal. Dom was able to see a few on his short visit from our sister dive shop in Bunaken. He was also very happy to see his very first Stargazer.
This week in Lembeh….We all get along! With so much action in the water these days the critters of Lembeh strait all hang out together. As seen here with a pair of coleman shrimp sharing their home with a Zebra Crab. Living atop a Fire urchin, these two are a great display of the co-existing that goes on here.
This week in Lembeh…. We get Freaky. Like something horror movies were made from, The famed Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois) is some divers dream to see. Seen during the night, these creepy critters can grow to a length of 3m, waiting to snatch their pray and drag them down into the earth. Victoria has been wanting and waiting to see one for as long as she can remember. Since the first time she saw one featured in a magazine, this has been her prize. She was lucky enough to see one on her first night dive and was dancing for the next few days.
This Week in Lembeh…. There is a Cold Bonanza! Waters have been slowly chilling the last past weeks in the strait, dropping to a much cooler 24deg. Where as this may not sound pleasant, life is exploding all over the place. We are getting more sightings of Cephalopods, Nudibranchs, Shrimps, Crabs, the water is really alive. Night dive’s have been going out on a daily basis with Bobtailed squid, long arm octopus, squids, congregating sea hares, and many more critters being highlights.
This week in Lembeh….. Harlequin Shrimp Shine. For those that enjoy shrimp, Lembeh is a fantastic place to see more than just a few species. Our lucky divers can agree with these Harlequin Shrimp as part of the proof. Our guides found these two ready to chow down on top of a blue sea star. Other types being seen have been Tiger shrimp, Hairy Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Skeleton Shrimp, and the list goes on.
This week in Lembeh… Ghost Pipefish get Pink. A lesser known and seen ghost pipefish has been spotted early this week. The rarer Velvet Ghost Pipefish was seen buy our lucky guests, posing for photos. It can come in a white, pink, or red color variation which along side their body shape, help it to blend in with the coral.
This week in Lembe….. A Paddle Flap Immerges! Our first Rhinopia encounter this year was with what we think is known as a “False Rhinopia” or “Hipposcorpaena Filamentosa”. This time a Paddle-flap Scorpionfish or “Rhinopias Eschmeyeri” has popped up to say hello. These are a popular find in the photography world so lets hope it stays around.
The last two weeks of my PADI divemaster training in Lembongan has been truly amazing. I have barely seen such a variety of dive sites that can be explored all from just one dive center!
One day the boat could be heading north to one of the sites with beautiful corals, an abundance of reef fish as well as the occasional turtle and on the next day the boat may head south to find the mantas, the seahorse at crystal bay and if lucky also a mola mola.
This Week in Lembeh…… we have had Hairy Mania! One tends to wonder, why must there be a hairy version of everything? Well…. Why not? Like the minute Hairy Shrimp, usually too small to see features with the naked eye, this version of shrimp is a great challenge for the macro photographer. Often looking like nothing more than a tiny piece of fluff, our guides have a special knack for picking out these odd little critters. To join these guys we have also been seeing hairy frogfish, hairy octopus, hairy gobies, and hairy ghostpipefish.
This Week in Lembeh….Sheep Graze? A popular subject at the moment is the famous “Shawn the Sheep” more correctly known as a Sapsucking Slug (Costasiella). This little guy can be quite a tricky subject growing to an average size of about 7mm. Being that size obviously and smaller can make it tricky to fully see them in all their glory with just the naked eye. Either way it a great find and even better when a photo somewhat works out!
This Week in Lembeh…. We get close up! One thing we here at Lembeh are known for is being a Macro Photographers wet dream (pun intended). Very similar to this Napoleon snake eel, many of the critters here allow you to get close up and personal. Many of these critters going about their business on the sand, making appearances while buried in the sand or just saying a quick hello. Its possible to accommodate everyone from simple point and shoot cameras to 4k Cameras and beyond.