The Bunaken Marine Park is located right at the heart of the coral triangle and this is the centre of diversity for squat lobsters. These “lobster-like” crustaceans are found hiding amongst the coral and feather stars on the walls of Bunaken and take a keen eye to spot. Our guides are very good at spotting the macro life on our local dive sites and photographers love it!
The crinoid squat lobster in the photo was spotted and photographed by our guest Jennifer who has been here practicing with her new camera set up. These types of squat lobster live mainly inside the feather stars that they use as a host in their symbiotic relationship. They vary greatly in colour and usually match that of their host to best camouflage themselves from predators. They can live outside of the feather stars but have a much shorter life expectancy because they are much easier to spot. As they feed on plankton, just like their hosts, they benefit greatly from the relationship they share with the feather stars. The feather stars don’t get much in return from the crinoid squat lobster but as they aren’t harmed by them either the squat lobster gets to stay. This is the definition of a commensal species.
Jennifer is now at Two Fish Divers Lembeh, with all the crazy critters over there in the muck, whilst in Bunaken, we have been enjoying great conditions on the wonder-walls surrounding the island. With Pinak, Mita and Amelie from India, and Tom and Brenda from Holland learning to dive here, maybe they have been spoilt with their first experience of diving. There is a lot more to see in Indonesia though and visiting Two Fish Divers is the perfect way to feel at home whilst at the same time visiting somewhere new.
We get a lot of guests returning to Indonesia and visiting more than one Two Fish Location, like Fiona who keeps meaning to try somewhere new but still hasn’t seen enough after about 10 visits. It is just so easy to come back when you feel at home. Karin arrived a few days before her friends from Germany and enjoyed a few “warm up” dives before Gunther and Joachim joined her to get stuck in. They will all head to Lembeh for the Two Fish combo of “muck and walls”. Also visiting from Germany are Claudia and Monika but they did the opposite; starting in Lembeh and then coming to the blue water of Bunaken to see more fish, coral and still a lot of macro life to photograph.
While a crinoid squat lobster hiding in a feather star is not the only treat here in the heart of the Coral Triangle, they are on a long list of amazing critters that we get to see every day!
Have you heard about the famous dive sites of the Bunaken Marine Park and the nearby Lembeh Strait? Come and join us! For more information, or to make a reservation, fill in the form below and we will get right back to you.