Since we found the first specimen of the green Phycocaris Species 5 months passed already and we are finding them since then constantly. After all we still don’t know if it is a new species or if it is just a variation of Phycocaris simulans (also known as the “Hairy Shrimp”) but we are at least getting better in finding them. We started to spot them on several dive sites already. But the best day was yesterday: I found one in the morning in the northern part of the Lembeh Strait and Aso found one in the afternoon in the middle of the Lembeh Strait. That makes 2 different individuals on a single day (we are assuming, that the shrimp did not make several kilometers during lunchtime). And even though it is so tiny (clearly smaller than a grain of rice) our guest keep loving it. So come to NAD Lembeh and check out the little green Shrimp!
Lembeh Strait is a Muckdiving paradise – and it has many interesting habitats to offer. Algae, Sand, Rubble, Coral, Rocks and Sponges. This week i took 3 nice photos with different animals all living on the same type of sponge – i just realized that, when going through my pictures of this week. There are many other cool critters living on those sponges, but i just thought i share these that have been taken within some days.
There is a Paaron Shrimp, that really blends in with the sponge and not only mimics its colour and shape, but also its surface pattern. Then there is a sponge mimicing Nudibranch, that is laying eggs and a carrier crab that is decorating its back with a piece of xenia coral (polyps are retracted in this picture).
Lembeh is not only a place to see rare critters – due to its shallow depths and easy diving conditions it is also a very good place to observe marine animal behavior. After some busy days doing gardening work in the resort i finally went diving again yesterday afternoon. And it was a treat to be in the water again … we went to Sarena Beasar (a white sand rubble dive on an Island in the middle of the Lembeh Strait) and besides lots of cool critters i was lucky enough to witness these two Two Spot Wrasses (Oxycheeilinus bimuculatus) having a little territorial fight. They were biting each others mouth for about a minute before the stronger one took over the little coral they were fighting about. The weaker looser went then off to another coral near by – which honestly looked just as attractive to me as the one they were fighting about. A little bit like humans these wrasses 😉
Yesterday we went to Madidir 1 – a black sand muckdive at the southern end of the Lembeh Strait. It is a dive site we preferrably dive from february to april and this was our first visit for this year. Besides several seahorses, pipehorses, octopus, shaggy frogfish and a black hairy frogfish we also found this beautiful Geographic Seahare (Syphonota geographica). Our Guest Markus, that measures the quality of a dive exclusively on the amount of frogfishes seen is normally not interested in sea slugs at all – but this sea hare was his highlight of the day. Besides the attractive pattern it is also the size and the funny way of moving that makes these critters so cool. This was now the 4th species of seahare that i have seen this week – hope there are more to come.
On yesterdays morning dive at Sarena Patah – one of the Dive Sites around Sarena Island in Lembeh Strait – we found this little Clingfish sitting on a piece of Halimeda Algae in the shallows. He was about 1cm in size and stayed on his little algae leaf the whole time … he would move from one side to the other to hide from us, but he would not leave his little algae home. Which is strange, as he had very bad camouflage on it.
Usually Clingfishes either live in Featherstars (in which they are first protected by the Featherstar itself and second perfectly match the colour of the host) or in Sea Urchins (Urchin Clingfish) where the spines of the urchin protect the Clingfish from predators. Well anyway … we liked the lack of camouflage and protection a lot, as it gave us the possibility to take some pictures of this little fish that curls its tail in such a cute way.
The Yellow Pygmy Goby (Lubricogobius exiguus) can be found frequently in Lembeh Straits black sand muckdives: It’s poppy yellow colour makes it stand out and an attractive critter for Photographers, Videographers and normal divers alike. It usually lives in pairs and can be found on mucky sand substrates – living in holes, under pieces of plastic, in cans, toth paste tubes or bottles. It grows up around 3 cm in size and guards eggs that it sticks to the inside of its hiding place.
Best Places to find the Yellow Pygmy Goby in Lembeh: virtually all Muckdive Sites – for example TK 1-3, Aer Bajo, Jahir etc.
Photo Tipps: The Yellow Pygmy Goby’s eyes reflect strobe light in green colour – try to bring this reflection into your shots. A 100mm Macro is to be preferred over a 60mm as the working distance helps. Best photo subjects are the ones hiding in bottles … just wait in front of the bottle – cool effects like backlighting are possible here.
Previously we discovoered a smooth green phycocaris species that we believe is undescribed and lives in tiny green ascidians. We have already seen it several times (at various divesites) since then. And that was also what we were trying to find yesterday, when we suddenly saw this little green thing on one of the ascidians. It seems to be a tiny kind of flatworm that perfectly matches the ascidian in colour, pattern and shape. And even though it has no eyes and does not move much it is still a beautiful critter. And it proves that if you look for things smaller than an olive grain you keep finding new stuff every day – at least here in Lembeh.