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
November 2015, Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ Cheiloprion labiatus, the Big-lip Damsel, fascinates me. How have we managed to dive throughout its range for so long without ever noticing it? Last month, our friend Janet Eyre noted several during a REEF fish survey in Lembeh Strait and pointed them out. Damselfishes are ubiquitous on the reefs we visit but the ones that usually catch my eye are brightly colored juveniles. By the time the Big-lip Damsel develops its Hollywood lips, it … Read more Little Fish with the Hollywood Lips
Lembeh Strait—Once Again! Part One, October 2015 ~ The narrow 12-mile stretch of water separating Lembeh Island from the large island of Sulawesi in Indonesia is home to one of the Earth’s most diverse displays of natural selection and symbiosis above or below water. Even after more than 20 visits spanning 16 years, the ever-changing carnival of creatures inhabiting the black sand bottom never ceases to surprise, delight and astound us. Making our two-week stay at Eco-Divers Resort Lembeh even better, we … Read more Lembeh 2015 Portfolio – Part 1
In May 2012, Ned returned from a dive in Lembeh, Indonesia, with images of this tiny, clear Melibe nudibranch. He had been working the very shallow black sand shelf with our guide, while I was below them at 60 feet, taking video of another, much larger species of Melibe. I was pretty satisfied with my Melibe -until I saw the image of his, which happened to be a species neither of us had ever seen before. I managed to talk … Read more More Melibe!
What is this Carry Crab carrying? It was a mystery to us for a week. The common name, carry crab (sometimes called carrier crab) applies to crabs in several families that disguise themselves by using modified back legs to grip things like, well, like just about anything. In previous posts, we showed photos and video of a crab carrying a sea pen, one carrying a banana peel and even a crab carrying a live nudibranch. I’ve circled the crab, in … Read more Carry Crab Mystery
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ October 2012 Here is one of my favorite examples of mimicry in fishes: a Striped Fangblenny (Meiacanthus grammistes) model and its mimic, a juvenile bream, Scolopsis bilineatus. Neither fish is that uncommon on the Indo-Pacific reefs where we dive but this was the first time I took the time to follow a little Bridled Monocle Bream to see if it would lead me to the blenny that it is known to mimic. The relationship of this bream … Read more Mimicry: The Blenny and the Bream
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia ~ Juvenile Red Emperor Snappers, Lutjanus sebae, are not that uncommon here – we almost always find a few tiny juveniles nestled down in the spines of the Radiant Sea Urchins. They shelter there until they are ready to move to deep water to live out their lives as much larger and less colorful adults. In 2006, we were lucky enough to find a small group that had grown enough to start venturing out from the protection … Read more All Snappers, All the Time
Lembeh Strait, Indonesia, March 2011 – I recently posted about my love/obsession with Striped Catfish, Plotosus lineatus. The video that accompanies that post includes clips of soapfish, jacks and even a lionfish feeding alongside the rolling ball of catfish; taking advantage of the disturbance. Ned just rolls his eyes whenever he sees me following yet another swarm. That’s why I was surprised when one of our dive buddies came flying down the reef, gesturing for me to swim back toward … Read more A Case of Mimicry: Jacks with Catfish