The hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus) has a rounded body and its skin is covered with spinules resembling hairs. These spinules can be copious and long or very short and almost invisible. As with all frogfish, its expandable mouth allows it to swallow prey as large as itself. The color varies from yellow to brownish-orange, almost white, or even completely black with no visible pattern. The modified dorsal spine is used as a fishing rod and the tip of it has a three-pronged, worm-like esca (lure) which is used to attract prey. The worm-like lure is a way to easily distinguish the hairy frogfish from the similar-looking shaggy frogfish (Antennarius hispidus) with which it is sometimes confused, but which has an esca resembling a pom-pom.
The coconut octopus or veined octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) is one of our favorite critters in Lembeh. It uses “tools” like shells and coconuts to build a hiding place and is often seen ‘walking’ on two arms with these tools in the other arms. This behavior is called bipedal locomotion. Some species are very greedy and try to take as many tools as they can carry, which sometimes is just too much to handle. The coconut octopus is a solitary cephalopod.
The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is an Indo-Pacific species of octopus and is able to change skin color and texture in order to blend in with the environment. Like other octopus species, the mimic octopus possesses chromatophores and changes shapes while moving over the sandy bottoms where it is often found. In Lembeh we can watch these amazing critters on the muck dive sites. The mimic octopus is often confused with the Wonderpus (Wunderpus photogenicus) which looks similar, but has a few things which look different to the Mimic, one of the most obvious is the white line all along the underside of the arms on the Mimic, which the Wonderpus doesn’t have.
Our June highlights video is a masterpiece worthy of the Mozart symphony it’s set to. Frogfishes, mimic and blue-ringed octopus, ornate ghost pipefishes, unusual footage of a mantis shrimp cleaning house, a stunning yellow weedy rhinopias and a xenia coral shrimp…oh, and if you pay attention, you might even catch a glimpse of Sascha putting in a cameo appearance himself – very Hitchcock!
Rhinopias belong to the scorpionfish family and are native to the tropical western Indo-Pacific. Like all scorpionfish, they have venomous spines and prefer to rest on the bottom, occasionally walking or ‘hopping’ by pushing off with their pelvic and pectoral fins rather than swimming. Scorpionfish are masters of camouflage, enabling them to lie in wait for their victims to come close, before lunging forward and inhaling their prey with their large mouths.
What better way to wake up than with a glorious dive in Lembeh featuring our favorite sea-creatures? If you can’t be here to enjoy today’s sightings in person, then grab a coffee and enjoy this latest video of April highlights including graceful cockatoo waspfishes, a blue-ring octopus and a rare Randall’s frogfish with a brilliant red spot near the base of the tail.
This highlights of 2016 video is a spectacular fireworks-like display of the brightest and best critters in Lembeh. Pulsating blue-ringed octopuses fall upon their crustacean prey, an iridescent bobbit worm shimmering with rainbow colors waits patiently for a meal and a vast array of rare and beautiful nudibranchs all appear, along with one of the cutest and most unexpected buddy pairs you’ve ever seen – see if you can spot it near the end of the video. Enjoy the video and may 2017 bring you great critterful dives, health and happiness!
Did you know that the deadly, highly venomous blue-ring octopus cannot tell the sex of another blue-ring at first sight? They have to feel the other one first in order to be able to figure it out. An encounter can be witnessed in this video where two blue-ring octopuses (Hapalochlaena sp.) meet each other for the first time. Love at first sight or disaster date? Watch to find out!
Frogfishes are a member of the anglerfish family and eat pretty much everything, shrimps, fish and even other frogfish. The strike itself is accomplished with the sudden opening of the jaws, which enlarges the size of the mouth up to 12 times, pulling the prey into the mouth along with water. The water flows out through the gills, while the prey is swallowed and the food pipe closed with a special muscle to keep the victim from escaping. In addition to expanding their mouths, frogfish can also expand their stomachs to swallow animals up to twice their size.
This little clown frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) obviously did not eat his dessert first! Frogfish tend not to be picky eaters and have been known to eat just about any creature that is close enough and that will fit in their mouth (including other frogfishes of the same species) but this shrimp seemed to not suit his palate. It’s anyone’s guess as to why he spit it out – did he eat the good parts and expel only the hard shell? Was it an awkward shape and difficult to swallow? What do you think?