Blennywatcher

Nudibranch on Xenia coral Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Another Coral Mimic

April 27, 2013

April 2013, Halmahera, Indonesia ~ More soft coral mimics! Back in November, I posted a video of a nudibranch, Phyllodesmium rudmani, that mimics the soft coral, Xenia, upon which it feeds (click here to see the previous post). Ned wasn’t with me on that dive so last month, during our cruise through Halmahera aboard the Dewi Nusantara, our guide Yann made sure Ned saw this different species of nudibranch, which I think is Phyllodesmium jakobsenae, another predator of soft coral. … Read more

Little Things: Blenny Face

April 26, 2013

Photo Friday: Little Things ~ We’re all about little things at the BlennyWatcher Blog. Of course we like bigger animals – sharks, whales, rays (known as charismatic megafauna to some) but the little things, blennies, gobies, shrimp – are more our speed. When we decided to launch this blog, we chose the blenny as our poster fish and of course, this little 4-cm. blenny from the genus Salarias was our first choice for an icon.

Juvenile Soapfish Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Soapfish Tales

April 20, 2013

March 2013 – Waigeo, Indonesia In October 2012, I found a tiny fish that I couldn’t identify. It was wary, darting into a small hole when I got too close. I shot video, noted the location and on the afternoon dive, navigated back to it so Ned and several others could take photographs. Back on the boat we decided, based on its body shape and distinctive dorsal fin that it had to be a juvenile Doublebanded Soapfish (Diploprion bifasciatum). Other … Read more

Harlequin Shrimp Pair Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Harlequin Shrimp at Work

April 8, 2013

I love the way Harlequin Shrimp move – their little abdomens waggle – like bobbleheads in reverse – bobblebutts! And the  “wax on – wax off” movement with their claws – too cute! However, once you get past their looks, it gets a little gruesome because Harlequin Shrimp are voracious predators of starfish. I say gruesome because they don’t put a quick kill on them. No, they flip the starfish over so it can’t walk away then proceed to consume … Read more

Razorfish Bites

March 6, 2013

Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ Well the table is turned. I have seen prey in the grips of toothy lizardfishes before, but never this. What is going on here? From a distance I could see Ned watching what I thought was a lizardfish (quite a predator on the reef) trying to eat a razorfish. Then I realized the razorfish was firmly clamped onto the lizardfish – quite a reversal from the expected. Ned had a better angle and was able to … Read more

Bats Anna DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Blenny, Beans & Bats

January 30, 2013

October 2012 ~  Here are a few more observations from our most recent trip to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Batanta, one of four main islands, is located just a few cruising hours from the port of Sorong and is usually the first and last stops on our itineraries. That has never been enough for me so for this most recent trip aboard the Dewi Nusantara, we planned an all-Batanta itinerary. The heavily forested island has been my favorite for beachcombing, birdwatching and … Read more

Papery stomatella Ned DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Stomatellids!

January 17, 2013

January, 2013 ~ We are rock turners. Ned figures it takes about a 1,000 rocks to score a hit by uncovering some rare or unusual animal. Just offshore small villages or under piers, where we often dive, the hunt involves more trash than rocks but whatever we are turning over, it is exciting to uncover some cool crab or worm or my current favorite, a stomatellid. Our dive guide Denny discovered the 2-inch Papery Stomatella, pictured above, when he picked up … Read more

Frogfish with eggs (Lophiocharon sp.) Anna DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Frogfish with Eggs

December 1, 2012

November 2012 ~ We have just returned from a cruise aboard the Dewi Nusantara around Batanta and Waigeo, two islands in the Raja Ampat region of eastern Indonesia. If I had to rank my top 10 favorite dives of all time, I would include a 2007 night dive off Batanta when we saw this frogfish, Lophiocharon sp., with her clutch of eggs. The only divers still in the water after a two-hour dive, we were on our way back to … Read more

Phyllodesmium rudmani nudibranch Anna DeLoach BlennyWatcher.com

Nudibranch Mimics Soft Coral

November 15, 2012

November 2012 ~ Blennywatcher is still on the road and delighted to report that we’ve managed to add quite a few species to our life lists during this cruise around Batanta, Indonesia, including this nudibranch, Rudman’s Phyllodesmium (Phyllodesmium rudmani). Nudibranchs are sea slugs, shell-less marine snails; a group that includes some of the most colorful and beautiful invertebrates on the reef. This is one that we’ve long wanted to see. Our guide, Yan Alfian seemed pretty confident that we’d see … Read more

Hornbill over Batanta by Wendy McIlroy via BlennyWatcher.com

Postcard from Batanta: 100 Hornbills

November 8, 2012

October, 2012 ~ Aboard the Dewi Nusantara, Blennywatcher is circumnavigating the island of Batanta, one of the four main islands of the Indonesian region known as Raja Ampat. This is the eighth year that we have dived in this area but the first with an itinerary that would keep us almost entirely around one island. Because of its proximity to Sorong, the starting and/or ending point for most liveaboard dive boats, Batanta is almost always on every itinerary but I … Read more