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Posts Tagged ‘Creature Feature’

Creature Feature: Solar Powered Nudibranch

Solar Powered Phyllodensium

The Solar-Powered Nudibranch (Phyllodensium longicirrum, Solar-Powered Phyllodensium, Long-Cirri Phyllodensium) is one of the celebrities among the Lembeh Nudibranchs – everybody knows it and everybody likes to see one. The Solar-Powered Nudibranch (SPN) grows to 15 cm in size and is the biggest member of the phyllodensium nudibranchs. As other members of this group, the SPN farms Zoocanthellae algae in its Cerata (tentacles) to create energy through photosynthesis. The flat Cerata have a big surface an therefore lots of space for the algae patches that are separated into individual “solar panels” (that are visible as little brown spots).

The SPN feeds on leather corals of the type Sarcophyton trocheliophorium and stores their toxins to taste bad for potential predators. It usually hangs out around a leather coral until it has consumed it.

Best place to see SPN in Lembeh: Most coral dive sites like for exemple Makawide, Batu Sandar but also Muckdives like Aer Bajo or TK sometimes have SPN.

Photo Tip: Use a wider lens (60mm or wider) as the SPN is relatively big in size. For a big SPN sometimes even Wide Angle can be a good option. The Cerata swing to side to side with the surge … so a good technique is to position yourself in front of the head, prefocus on the rhinophores and wait for a moment when they are both visible.

Creature Feature: Coconut Octopus

Coconut Octopus in Lembeh Strait

The Coconut Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) is also called Veined Octopus and a day active octopus species that is quite common in the Lembeh Strait. They usually are burried in the sand, hiding in Objects or burried in the sand with objects. They like to hide in Bottles, Shells, Cans, Yoghurt Cups, Coconuts – basicly in whatever they find.
The Coconut Octopus grows to maximum 30 cm but juveniles can be as small as olives and hide in a bottle cap.

Where to find Coconut Octopus in the Lembeh Strait: Coconut octopus can be found at any depth on all Muck Dive Sites (Sandy Dive Sites) in the Strait. For exemple at Jahir, TK, Hairball, Aer Bajo, Rojos etc.

Photo Tips: Best lens to shoot Coconut Octopus is a 60mm Macro. And it is very nice shooting them, when they hide in Shells or when they are “running away” with their objects.

Creature Feature: Hairy Frogfish

When Muck Diving Freaks come to Lembeh the Hairy Frogfish is arguably the top candidate on the Critter Whishlist. The Hairy Frogfish is the hairy variation of the Striated Frogfish (antennarius striatus or striped frogfish). Even though there is some other species of frogfish with hair to see in Lembeh, the Striated Frogfish is the most impressive one.

It grows relatively big (up to about 20 cm) and can be white, brown, yellow, orange or even black. Besides the stripe pattern and the hair another cool feature of the Hairy Frogfish is the worm shaped lure that it actively uses to attract prey.

Hairy Frogfish can occasionally be found in depths as shallow as 1m – but usually deeper. They normally stay around for a while, but move back deeper after mating. The bigger Frogfish is the female and is usually followed by a smaller male.

 

Classic sites to see the Hairy Frogfish in Lembeh are: Hairball, Teluk Kembahu (TK), Jahir, Aer Bajo, Tandu Rusa and Retak Larry.

Best lens to use: 60mm Macro – but for bigger hairy frogfishes also Wide Angle Lenses can be used.

Best season: The whole year with a peak in August – November

More Info: A good website with more information about Frogfishes is www.frogfish.ch

Creature Feature: Blue Ringed Octopus

The Blue Ringed Octopus is one of the top Critters for Muck Divers … it’s a little bit like a small version of a Whaleshark: everybody really really wants to see one. And of course it is possible to find it here in the Lembeh Strait – the muck diving capital of the world.

The Blue Rined Octopus is a rather small Octopus that lives in Sandy Rubble and is very secretive … occasionally it is found out walking over the sand, but usually it is hiding in between rubble or also very often in bottles (i think they have a slight preferance for coke over sprite). Most of the times it is found in 25-15 meters depth but sometimes also very shallow. When the Blue Ringed Octopus feels threatened it flashes its distinctive pattern of blue rings to display the danger of the poison in its saliva.

They are a rather rare critter that can be seen here occasionally over the whole year – with the peak season between october and january when at times we see them several times a day. The typical month to see them mating is usually around november.

The classic Divesites for Blue Ringed Octopus in Lembeh are Serena, Pintu Colada, Pante Parigi, Nudi Falls, Critter Hunt, Pulau Abadi and even sometimes on our housereef at NAD Lembeh.