Lembeh 2015 Portfolio – Part 2

Mandarinfish trio in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
A seemingly congenial afternoon gathering of male Mandarinfish precedes their nightly ritual of highly competitive courtship confrontations.

Lembeh Strait Part Two, November 2015 ~ Here is the second installment of favorite photos from our two-week stay at Eco Divers Resort Lembeh. Friends who visited Lembeh earlier reported unseasonably cold water and strong winds so we were bracing for the worst but as luck would have it, the wind died and water warmed just before we arrived at the end of October.  We have dived here in every month of the year but this month the bottom seemed more interesting than usual – maybe it was the cooler summer. Just coming off the publication of the second edition of Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific, Ned was tuned into fishes but there seemed to be more octopuses and nudibranchs too. We left in the best way to leave a place: wishing we had one more day to go back and see that jawfish/blenny/flasher wrasse just one more time.

A thumb-sized Poisonous Ocellate Octopus, Amphioctopus siamensis, on high alert as an Algae Octopus approaches:

Poisonous Ocellate Octopus on high alert

The Algae Octopus, Abdopus aculeatus, dancing across the bottom:

Algae Octopus, abdopus aculeatus

The Ocellate Octopus flees…

Poisonous Ocellate Octopus flees from another octopus

… to safer terrain:

Poisonous Ocellate Octopus lands after fleeing from another octopus

A scientifically undescribed one-inch jawfish leaps from its sand burrow. Although we could see these tiny jawfish jumping all around him, Ned had decided, after watching them on an earlier dive, that he had to just select one individual and work it. He spent an hour with this little fish:

Undescribed jawfish in Lembeh Strait
Given the common name, Pygmy Jawfish, known as Opistognathus species 4 in Allen and Erdmann

A scientifically undescribed Flabellina nudibranch:

A scientifically undescribed Flabellina nudibranch

A scientifically undescribed Godiva nudibranch:

A scientifically undescribed Godiva nudibranch

Funeral Jorunna, Jorunna funebris, nudibranch:

Funeral Jorunna, Jorunna funebris

Instead of the traditional topknot of sponge, this Redspot Sponge Crab, Lewindromia unidentata, was carrying a clipped piece of soft coral:

Redspot Sponge Crab, Lewindromia unidentata

At the base of a soft coral, a squat lobster:

Squat lobster

A decorator crab adorned with hydroid polyps:

Fairy decorator crab

A Whitebelly Toby inflates with water to thwart being swallowed by a lizardfish:

Lizardfish trying to eat a toby

Over the years of watching the behavior of squid and cuttlefishes, we’ve never actually made physical contact with one. After being followed almost the entire dive by an overly friendly Broadclub Cuttlefish, Anna extended her hand and much to our surprise, it eased forward and stroked her hand:

A cuttlefish touching diver's hand

A False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus, exposes its fangs in an effort to deter predators from its egg nest:

False Cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus

A sesame seed-sized mysid (Crustacea: Mysida):

Mysid (Crustacea: Mysida)

We’ll be back soon with more favorites from our travel this year. Be sure to “like” our Blennywatcher Facebook page and check out our Blennywatcher YouTube Channel.