So, after the English Football team got there ass (arse) whooped by Sweden last night I thought to myself ‘what would Bent do?’ The answer was not hard to find, as our favourite Swede/Dane hybrid loves parasites and all things small and disgusting.
I headed out on a dive with Stenly, Joni, Johan, Indra, Abner and importantly Rockles came along as part of his training to join the dive team. Obviously Parasites on fish aren’t hard to find in Lembeh but the boys enjoy any excuse to go out taking pictures themselves, and Rockles and Johan seem to be having some kind of bro-mance. It’s very sweet.
Anyway, here are the pictures I got of the meanest parasite of them all… Cymothoa exigua – The tongue eater!
Once I took a photo or two I noticed a pulsation in the body of the Copepod which looked like a peristaltic action to take fluids (food / brain juice / magical powers) from the host. I managed to get some video of it so you can take a look below:
The Gobies had a patch of eggs, so the presence of the parasite is not detrimental enough to prevent procreation, but it stall is a pretty gruesome way to live your life! Lembeh seems to be full or parasites these days, so when you are visiting keep checking for more smaller things on the smaller thing that is living on the bigger thing.
On a recent dive this week we went to Pulau Putus on the northern end of the Lembeh Strait – a dive around a little island that offers spectacular hard corals, a wall and very good critter life. This is also where we found these mating Notodoris minor. As they are not the most common nudibranch i was already excited enough to see two of them together. But the topping on the ice was the little goby with a parasite sitting on the left one of them. So i had a good lough first and then took some shots (without disturbing the 3 of them … 4 actually if you count the parasite).
Notodoris are a rather big growing nudibranch that can reach 10 cm in size. They lay yellow eggs and are day active. They are usually seen on coral dive sites rather than on muck sites.
As already mentioned in previous blog posts there are many parasites here in Lembeh Strait that for example stick on the head or cheek of fishes. Another very common type of parasite is the tongue parasite (Tongue-Biter Cymathoid Isopod, Cymothoa exigua) that lives in the mouth of various fishes – mainly in Anemonefishes. They enter through the gills and position themselves on the tongue of the fish … after a while they have already replaced the tongue.
This beautiful shot here is taken by our guest Mood – thanks for the picture and we hope you have a good time in Singapore buddy!
On one of this weeks morning dives we went diving at Tanjung Tebal – one of Lembeh Strait’s best coral dives with lots of Seafans, whips and soft corals. It is just a dive that has to be timed well with currents. We went there this week on slack tide with just a gentle water movement – just enough to keep the corals open. It was a fantastic dive with an amazing number of Pygmy Seahorses. Joni even found 13 specimens in one single muricella fan. Another cool thing was this goby who was also sitting on a muricela fan. The special thing about this one was the fact, that he had 3 parasites on his head: Parasitic Copepods. These make the Goby suffer and die eventually. In this photo it even looks like the goby is screaming – which is of course not true. He is just yawning … but it still looks cool 😉
On yesterdays Housereef dive, we found this little Goby (Amblygobius decussatus). You could tell straight away that something was not quite right with him but only on the second look it became obvious: He has two big parasites on his head – one on each cheek. As bad as this is for the little goby – it looked really cool. Specially with the colours stripes of the Crosshatch Goby going right over the parasites.
Parasites on Gobies (and other fish) are very common in Lembeh and this is the best place to observe various species of them. Isopods, Copepods, Tongue Parasites … they are all easy to find here. Usually the fish that has for example a tongue parasite will eventually die because of the parasite. But this one suffering from an isopod was still swimming and behaving normal and did not seem to suffer a lot. He kept feeding and trying to escape the camera like all gobies do. So i think, he will probably still have some more time to live. So let’s not feel too sorry for the little Goby – parasites also need to eat something 😉