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.
If you are not familiar with the term “Echinoderm”, that’s because they are more commonly referred to by their common names: Sea Star, Sea Cucumber, Sea Urchin, etc. In Lembeh Strait, Echinoderms are notorious for being mini ecosystems. One large Sea Cucumber, for example, can house numerous Emperor Shrimp, Snails, Shrimp and Crabs. One crab worth looking for (for the non-squeamish diver) is the one that lives in the anus of the Sea Cucumber. No joke! The Sea Cucumber’s anus opens and closes as the animal draws water in and out of its body. A curious diver with a flashlight can often spot a beautiful little crab taking refuge in a very safe little hole…
In other news, Lembeh Strait is thick with Melibe Nudibrach again! These incredible, highly camouflaged, 30cm long animals put on quite the show as they search the sandy bottom for crustaceans, extending and extracting their feeding hood in an entirely alien fashion. This week we watched one carefully lay an egg spiral in an algae patch. How’s than for an amazing sighting?! The Red Weedy Rhinopias and Black Hairy Frogfish remain accessible to our guests at Two Fish Divers as well. These normally rare and exclusive animals are easy to locate right now, and are keeping our guests well entertained!
Photo Credit: Robyn Smith, Photography Instructor at Two Fish Divers, Lembeh