The Hairy Squat Lobster (Lauriea siagiani) lives in the crevices of the large barrel sponges here in the Lembeh Strait. They typically hide pretty well making it tricky to photograph them, and extremely hard to video them. I found this guy on a night-dive and he was sat out and moving around, in fact he seemed to enjoy the video lights bringing him plankton. In these few short clips below you can see the function of the hairs on this critter – they trap stuff for the ‘lobster’ to eat. You can see him comb through his ‘do and eat up the bits he collects a couple of times. In my experience of Indonesia over the last 6 years, their diet generally consists of fish poop that ends up settling on the sponges.
Squat lobsters can be found in almost every square meter of the Lembeh Strait, but the Hairy Squat Lobster is the most beautiful and sought-after.
On a recent dive trip to Teluk Kembahu (TK) our Guide Indra showed me this weird shrimp. He was actually trying to find a Bumblebee Shrimp by looking under a pile of old ropes, that were encrusted with a big plastic tarp. But instead he found a big colony of various shrimps including Brittle Star Snapping Shrimps, Big Snapping Shrimps, Rough Tail Sponge Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp and this weird Shrimp. It is a Snapping Shrimp of the Genus Athanas and we found it to be living not on Brittlestars but with a small sea cucumber. There were about 4 or 5 of them. Even though it was not a bumblebee … still a very nice find – specially as i have never photographed this shrimp before.
On todays morning dives we had several highlights such as Banded Tozeuma Shrimps, Bumblebee Shrimp and other rare Critters – but the funniest thing were these two painted frogfish hiding in a purple sponge. They where in the famous rubble patch at TK1. First there was one of them on each side of the sponge – so our guest could watch & shoot them from both sides. But then the smaller one crawled under the sponge towards the bigger one. From the side of the bigger frogfish you could then see the smaller one peek around the “Benkile” (Sangihe language for “Bum”) of the bigger one. Everyone started laughing immediately and it was still a big topic afterwards on the boat 😉
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).