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.
The Emperor Shrimp is a beautiful little shrimp that is commonly found riding around on sea cucumbers and large Nudibranch. Nudibranches provide Emperor Shrimp with a free ride about the reef and the opportunity to feed on passing nutrients. The Cucumbers provide the shrimp with a bit more protection than the Nudibranches, while also providing them with feeding opportunities.
The Blue Dragon Nudibranch is so common in Lembeh that it is often times overlooked by the guides. It takes a beginner’s eye to bring attention back to these interesting Nudies. The Blue Dragon Nudibranch is a “solar powered nudi”, meaning that it feeds on corals that photosynthesize and are able to take on their food source’s photosynthesizing abilities! The Blue Dragon Nudibranch nurtures the algae that it acquires from its coral food source and allows the algae to continue to photosynthesize from within the Nudibranch. In this way the Nudibranch becomes fed by sunlight and is ultimately “solar powered”!
And how fascinating are Anemonefish?! Have you ever noticed that you can hear their jaws snapping as they chase you away from their anemone? They are chasing you away from the large egg patch that they lay on nearby rocks. If you can get close enough without getting bit, photos of this egg patch reveal teeny-tiny fish eyes peering out from each individual egg sac. And if those little baby fish aren’t interesting enough, make sure you slow down long enough to take a look at the tongue-biter parasite that lives in the mouth of almost every single Nemo fish in Lembeh! There’s almost nothing stranger than peering into the mouth of an animal only to see two eyes peering back at you!
Photo Credit: Scott Rettig, Dive Manager and Photography Instructor