This week, our guests Steven and Karen decided to venture a little further off the beaten track from Bunaken and headed to the northern islands of the Bunaken Marine National Park. The rewards were schooling Barracuda, eagle rays and much more.
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.
This week’s diving in Bunaken had something for both macro fans and lovers of big marine life – our guests saw Pontohi Pygmy Seahorses as well as increasing numbers of Spotted Eagle Rays.
Thanks to our eagle-eyed dive guides Frankli and Fenly, Mads from Denmark managed to get the fabulous shot for this blog. These miniature seahorses are fairly rare and we don’t have a lot of information about them. They’ve been spotted in (eastern) Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
“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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