As you will have read in previous blogs, we have been seeing a large number of Octopodes ( the correct plural of Octopus or so I have been told!) over the last few months and one that has been a regular fixture on our sighting list as been the Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena sp.) . All these sightings have made us and our guests extremely happy as they are normally very rare!
The Blue Ringed Octopodes are normally solitary creatures but some of our guests were lucky enough to see a couple of them mating – see the picture to the right. The larger one is obviously enjoying it – look at the size of his rings!! Thanks to Vicky for sending us this photo.
It is amazing the amount of people who do not realise how venomous this critter is – its bite can kill humans! Don’t get too close when trying to take its picture! The blue rings become more obvious when the octopus is agitated or feeling threatened, it is its way of saying ‘Back Off’.
Keep an eye out for later blogs on some of the other Octopodes that we see here in Lembeh.
Fire Urchins are plentiful in Lembeh and are often act as a host to small shrimps, Zebra Crabs and Emperor Snapper. Try not to get too close to one of these, their venomous spines intense pain if you get one stuck into you.
This ‘cute’ critter is the Stargrazer. Found on sandy bottoms, it is only spotted as its goggle-like eyes and mouth full of teeth protrude from the sediment, with the rest of the body buried. They are quite a hard find so most of our customers are very happy when we spot one for them!
Thank you Juanma for sending these photos through and if anyone else would like to check out more of his photos then please follow this link: http://www.juanmaorta.com/en/galleries/5566/
Marcel and Jack first planned to come and stay with us in April this year but a volcano erupting in Iceland meant that trip had to be delayed to till the summer
Marcel really enjoyed Lembeh for the fact that the conditions are so good for underwater photographers and he wanted to send through and share a couple of his favourites.
The Bigfin Reef Squid (Sepiotheutis lessoniana ) are a pretty common species, who you can often find in shallow coastal waters. During the day if you see them - they are often hanging around mooring lines, where they tend to lay their eggs. On night dives you will often encounter plenty of these squid as they like to come and play around in your torch or focus light!
Very little is known about the tiny Tiger Shrimp ( Phyllognathia ceratophthalma ) as they are very rarely seen, even here in the critter heavy waters of the Lembeh Straits! They only grow to about 2cm in lengeth. The colouring is quite distinct, so when you have found them hiding in some rubble you can’t mistake them for anything else!
To see more of Marcel’s photos, please visit his homepage: http://members.quicknet.nl/m.out
October really was a fantastic month here for diving with Two Fish Divers in the Lembeh Strait (well every month is fantastic here!!). One of the standout sightings for us was the Mototi Octopus (Octopus mototi), pictured here on the left. (We also saw him last night on the night dive as well.)
This is a solitary species, which can be found on sandy/rubble bottoms hiding in some of the garbage that can be strewn on some of our dives sites, such as cans or glass bottles. The identification of the Mototi is by a pair of bright blue rings behind its head and it takes on a orangey colour whilst at rest.
When it is on the move as the picture to the right shows, the Mototi Octopus displays brown and white stripes. This rare find is also quite a poisonous find so be careful when you come across one!!
Thank you to Thea for these photos, we are very jealous of this sighting as we were either in the office or in bed with a high fever when this beauty was seen!
In late September / October we had Bent Christensen come and stay with for the second time this year – a true Lembeh addict!
The reason for his visit was mostly fun – trying to get in as many dives as possible in 14 days but he also wanted to spend more time looking at the tongue-eating parasites that he had found living the mouths of certain types of anemone fish on his first trip to Lembeh in 2010. What he found definitely made it a worthwhile trip.
Bent spent many minutes underwater fending off attacks from crazed Saddleback Anemone fish and saw that as high as 90% of fish on one carpet anemone can have this parasite. They have also been seen in the Spinecheek and Clarks Anemone fish as well. A trip to the local fish market with one of our cooks was also an interesting experience as he had most people in the market looking into fish mouths and managed to find a couple of the isopods still alive in the mouths of a couple of goatfish!
We are really looking forward to hearing more about this from Bent. Bent is quite a talented underwater photographer as you can see from the photo above, if you would like to see more of his photographs from his recent stay, please just follow this link: http://www.pbase.com/borneobent/lembeh
Next time you are diving, if you see an Anemone fish try and get close and see if there is a little isopod staring back at you!! Let us know if you find these crazy critters anywhere else in the world!