At first glance, adorable little boxer crabs don’t look like kidnappers, but a closer look reveals incriminating evidence—living anemones grasped tightly in each claw. As it turns out the crabs, which spend the day hiding beneath rocks along shorelines in the Indo-Pacific, commandeer hostages for gathering food as well as protection. This novel form of symbiosis was labeled as kleptoparasitism—the theft of food—in a 2013 scientific paper. The authors studied the relationship using aquarium experimentations and observations. In an unexpected … Read more Kidnapped – Boxer Crabs Wielding Anemones and…Nudibranchs?!
Note: Portions of this article were originally published in Asian Diver magazine 2006 and in Scuba Diving magazine 2008. While exploring the pumice plain of Lembeh Strait in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, I watched a coconut roll down the steep sandy slope of Teluk Kembahu Bay. Even though much of the Strait’s mountainous terrain is fringed with copra plantations, and huskless shell halves commonly litter the seafloor, I had never seen an intact coconut underwater, much less one tumbling along the … Read more Sixteen-arm Tussle
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ March 2018 Oh poor blenny, I saw him peeking out from a palm frond in the black sand muck in Lembeh Strait. From a distance, he looked a little odd, but I didn’t think much of it until my video lights revealed bright orange bits of something hanging off its side. I’ve seen an occasional parasitic copepod hanging onto a blenny, but these were quite different and I needed Ned to get a photo that we … Read more Oh Poor Blenny!
October 29 ~ Happy Sea Slug Day 2017! It is no accident that Sea Slug Day coincides with the birthday of nudibranch expert, Dr Terry Gosliner, Senior Curator at the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology of the California Academy of Sciences. It is a day to celebrate these beautiful animals and honor the scientist who has documented so many of them. My celebration offering is one of our favorite sea slug observations from Lembeh Strait, Indonesia: several Pinufius rebus, … Read more Happy Sea Slug Day 2017
BlennyWatcher’s 2016 Review: We didn’t post as much here last year as we would have liked though as diving goes, 2016 was a pretty good year. We added quite a few species to our life lists (including a blenny or two) and in our continued commitment to making at least one dive trip a year that is out of our comfort zone, we ventured into the cold water in the Azores. That led to a new experience – dry suit … Read more BlennyWatcher’s 2016 Review
Happy Halloween! A decorator crab, Spiny Devilfish, fangblenny and a toothy eel -here are a few “spooky” animals for your Monday morning. The little decorator crab from Pantar, Indonesia, is all dressed up with something, but we’re not sure what. Decorator crabs disguise themselves by plucking bits of algae, sponge or other living things and attaching them to little velcro-like spines all over their shells. Ned saw this one as it staggered across the sand. Every once in a while it would … Read more Happy Halloween!
October 29, 2016 ~ Happy Sea Slug Day 2016! A day to honor some of our favorite inverts that coincides (not accidentally) with the birthday of nudibranch expert, Dr. Terry Gosliner. Search on “Sea Slug Day” or Twitter #seaslugday2016 for more offerings from around the net. Spots, stripes and sex! My offering is video of three nudibranchs from Anilao in the Philippines that were new to me. The two Thecacera species were pointed out by our guide, Kim Manzano. The … Read more Happy Sea Slug Day 2016!
Here is one more Melibe nudibranch, Melibe digitata, added to our life lists during our visit to Lembeh Strait, Indonesia in November 2015. We were near the end of our dive, slowly working our way up the slope to the surface. Our guide, ‘Man Tampilang, turning over rocks and coral rubble, found two of these very close to each other under separate pieces of rubble. They were so small – about an inch long – that I didn’t realize they … Read more Melibe digitata
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 … Read more Lembeh 2015 Portfolio – Part 2