To the surprise and delight of our divers, one of the rarest octopus in the Strait, the Hairy Octopus, graced us with his delightfully-playful presence this week. There also continues to be an excess of Juvenile Frogfish on the reef, in all colors, species and sizes. Everyone from super macro photographers to compact shooters will be taking home an incredible selection of Frogfish photos! Add the Halemeida Ghostpipefish sighting to the mix, and it was quite the eventful week of diving!
Divemaster in Training Lily was fascinated by the Shrimpgobys and their Snapping Shrimp counterparts in Lembeh this week. The Shrimpgoby lives alongside a nearly blind Snapping Shrimp in a burrow and provides the vulnerable shrimp with the protection of “eyesight”. The bull-dozing shrimp provides the Shrimpgoby with a clean burrow as it spends its days cleaning out their home. Any time it leaves the burrow the Shrimp maintains physical contact with its watchful Shrimpgoby. At the first sign of danger, a single flick of the Shrimpgoby’s tail sends them both diving for safety back into their manicured burrow.
It’s not often that a guest is able to show an experienced dive guide something new in Lembeh, but leave it to John Hoover to take on that challenge! Hoover, the authoritative word on Hawaiian fish and critter life, brought Flasher Wrasse Fever to Lembeh this week as he shared his excitement for this beautiful animal at meals, on the boat, and underwater. Who knew that Nudi Falls is teeming with one of the most beautiful fish in the sea? Not a single one of us at Two Fish Lembeh! We were too busy scanning the weeds and rubble for hidden wonders such as Rhinopias, cryptic Frogfish and tiny Nudibranch to notice the plethora of Flashers chasing about.
It is not often that Bryozoans and Echinoderms are highly sought after in Lembeh, but this week’s visiting Marine Biologists, Simi and Basti, couldn’t get enough of them! The Bryozoan is a collection of tiny, invertebrate marine animals that live in large colonies. These tiny animal colonies create beautiful structures that are big enough to house fellow reef creatures. The Lacey Bryozoan (pictured) made headline marine news of recent when a new species of Goby, Shrimp and Crab were discovered living inside of it. Extremely cryptic animals, and localized to a select few regions of Indonesia, the Bryozoan Goby is the most recent “newly discovered animal” that Lembeh has to offer.
Much to the surprise and delight of our Two Fish Divers, the rare and beautiful Velvet Ghostpipefish made an appearance in Lembeh this week! Though we are accustomed to seeing Ornate and Robust Ghostpipefish with some regularity, the Velvet Ghostpipefish is rarely encountered. Its bright red coloration might make you question its ability to camouflage, but in reality it does a beautiful job of impersonating a common red sponge that grows throughout Lembeh. Next on our wish list is a Halimeda Ghostpipefish sighting, which is just as rarely encountered as the Velvet. The Halimeda Ghostpipefish lives up to its name by impersonating Halimeda algae, and it just as fascinating as its beautiful Velvet cousin.
We had a successful Rhinopias hunt this week at Two Fish Lembeh!
Third time return guest David heard that there were some recent Rhinopias sightings in Lembeh, and it was his goal to see one. Just as his no-deco time was getting low on his first morning-dive back in the Strait, he spotted a big, beautiful, Weedy Rhinopias (Rhinopias frondosa). Though Rhinopias are common in a select few dive destinations, Lembeh is not one of them. Because of their relative rarity in Lembeh, they are a highly sought after sighting for divers and photographers alike. But the hunt is not over yet! Word in the Strait is that there is a second, smaller Rhinopias nearby. David, and all the dive guides, will continue the hunt all week!
Sometimes it’s the simple Lembeh critters that excite people the most!
This week at Two Fish Lembeh, Emperor Shrimp, Blue-Dragon Nudibranch and territorial Anemonefish are the main topics of conversation at the dinner table. And rightfully so! Though common to Lembeh, these crazy critters are not so common in other areas of the world.
Interested in seeing a variety of Octopus in Lembeh? The best way to catch the most variety is to vary your dive schedule. The morning dives are the best time to see Reef, Mimic and Coconut Octopus. Mimic Octopus sightings are well sought after due to the animal’s unique ability to imitate venomous animals when threatened. The Mimic Octopus plays an amazing game of charades and can convincingly mimic venomous Lionfish, Banded Sea Snakes and Banded Soles in its attempt to scare off potential predators. And though it is our most commonly encountered Octopus, the Coconut Octopus is not to be dismissed! The right individual can be endless entertainment as it plays peek-a-boo and shows off it’s attachment issues as it runs across the reef holding a house of shells or coconut husk!