Since arriving at Two Fish Divers Lembeh in January, we try to go on a house reef dive at least a couple of times a week to see what we have living out there. On one of our first dives with Nigel, he came across a pair of Ornate Ghost Pipefish ( Solenostomus paradoxus) and we are happy to report that we continue to see them on most dives on the house reef.
As you can see from the photos the larger female of the two pipefish is aerating her eggs and on a recent dive ( unfortunately without the camera) we had seen that the eggs have now been released – so lets hope soon we’ll have lots of Ornate Ghost Pipefish living on our house reef!!
The Ornate Ghost Pipefish can be recognized by its distinctive body form – with thin appendages off its body and fins. Its coloration can vary from almost totally black to almost semi-transparent with red, yellow and white scribbling, spots and blotches. They tend to be found in protected areas, in particular hiding in above crinoids, black corals and gorgonian fans and due to their clever camouflage they are often over looked! They feed mostly on mysids and benthic shrimp.
There is evidence to that suggest Ghost Pipefish settle as males and later, dependent on social and environmental conditions, some will change into females. This change starts a growth spurt and the development of brooding pouch which can hold up to 300 eggs and larvae.
Thanks to Gizmo for some great photos!
After feeling disappointed that we were going to be unable to dive Tandu Rusa and visit the resident Hairy Frogfish, we decided on Nudi Falls for the second dive of the morning (01/03/10). The visibility was looking good; there was no current – perfect conditions!! It was going to be a good dive, I could tell!
We set off, closely inspecting the Gorgonian Fans for Pygmy Seahorses but after 10mins and 3 fans we were unable to locate any. Nudi Falls was delivering a great dive – plenty of Nudis, Morays, Banded and Long Nosed Pipefish and much, much more.
I was just about to go up to do my safety stop, when Opo (our Head Dive Guide) came rushing over to me, with a look of pure excitement on his face. I decided that it was worth following Opo, especially after he started to write SEA DRAGON into the sand! My heart was racing, he couldn’t have possibly found a critter that was only discovered in recent years (2006) but is hardly seen? Or could he?? After a quick swim back to an algae covered part of the wall, he started a thorough search and within seconds, he was pointing to what looked like a tiny strand of hair floating in the water but this was to be my first look at the extremely rare Lembeh Sea Dragon ( Kyonemichthys rumengani).
This rarely sighted critter tends to hang around in the shallows with its tail wrapped onto some algae. They have the face of a Pygmy Seahorse but the body of a very thin pipefish.
I was still shaking with disbelief and joy when we surfaced and was smiling all the way back to the resort. We are hoping to get some pictures this afternoon if he is still there – so keeping checking the blog!