Much to the surprise and delight of our Two Fish Divers, the rare and beautiful Velvet Ghostpipefish made an appearance in Lembeh this week! Though we are accustomed to seeing Ornate and Robust Ghostpipefish with some regularity, the Velvet Ghostpipefish is rarely encountered. Its bright red coloration might make you question its ability to camouflage, but in reality it does a beautiful job of impersonating a common red sponge that grows throughout Lembeh. Next on our wish list is a Halimeda Ghostpipefish sighting, which is just as rarely encountered as the Velvet. The Halimeda Ghostpipefish lives up to its name by impersonating Halimeda algae, and it just as fascinating as its beautiful Velvet cousin.
In Frogfish news, a Black Hairy Frogfish remains present at one of our popular dive sites and was recently joined by a friend. The Black Hairy Frogfish is most likely a female, which you can determine by observing mating behavior. In this case a beautiful Tan Hairy Frogfish consistently trails the black one, never letting her get too far out of his sight. Males will trail a female for days, if not weeks, as the females send out “mating pheromones”. Periodically she will swell with eggs, the two will mate at dusk, leaving a floating raft of fertilized eggs that will become our future generation of Hairy Frogfish her in Lembeh Strait.
Our Rhinopias Hunt turned up a second Red Weedy Rhinopias this week that was a bit smaller than the first one. Though we couldn’t locate two on any one dive, we hope they are finding each other with out such difficulty! Everyone would love to see Rhinopias with more regularity in Lembeh. Speaking of which, the Flamboyant Cuttlefish don’t seem to have a problem finding each other! We are seeing more and more Cuttlefish eggs and super tiny, newly hatched Flamboyant Cuttlefish cruising about the sand. In fact, juveniles of all types are abundant this week in Lembeh: tiny, bright orange Painted Frogfish, itty bitty Zebra Crabs on Cake Urchins, and groups or juvenile Razorfish have all been spotted this week with Two Fish Divers.
Photo Credit: Michel Froidevaux (Divemaster Trainee)