Blog Log, 31 May 2009: Vicarious Excitement

Date June 2, 2009

Squat lobster in Crinoid

Squat lobster and crinoid

Thanks to Hantu Blog diver (and hopefully soon to be volunteer!) Cindy Tan, I got to experience Pulau Hantu vicariously as I lay at home recovering from the flu bug over the weekend. This is the second time I’m seeing the pictures, but I’ve not yet set my eyes on a squat lobster in the flesh in Hantu’s waters. What a sight! Good to know that we’re finding more of these guys and that it wasn’t just a one of thing!

Sawtooth shrimp

Gorgonian shrimp on coral whip

Another fascinating invertebrate on the reef that we thought to be seasonal, but it seems like the season lasts the entire year, is the Sawtooth or Gorgonian shrimp. The coral whips around the shallow reefs of Hantu are thin and it’s just amazing to see these critters trying their best to remain hidden against the whips! They have also been spotted in the red colour variation on our reefs.

Ceratosoma nudibranch

Slender ceratosoma

Second in popularity after the Tigertail seahorse is probably the Slender Ceratosoma nudibranch on our reefs. These sea slugs can reach massive sizes and because of their size and colouration, it may seem ironic, but they are easily missed because they resemble a sponge or ascidian when on the reef. It seemed like over this weekend, several of these beautiful slugs were spotted and in a variety of sizes.

Winged pipefish

Winged pipefish

I literally jumped at my screen when I squinted against my monitor, trying to decipher what was in this image. You might have to do a little squinting too! This specimen here might just be a juvenile because it hasn’t developed it’s full “wings”. The Winged pipefish Halicampus macrorhynchus to me is one of the most beautiful pipefishes I have encountered. Their fascinating body appendages mimic corraline algae and I can just spent a whole dive following them about, awed at their amazing adaptation.

Tigertail seahorse

Tigertail seahorse

A star on the reef, the Tigertail seahorse sometimes seems to not prefer all the media attention. Some times they are shy but other times they may be quite comfortable staying put as you photograph them. This one looks like its found a little hiding spot in a recess between some rocks and corals.

Bullocki nudibranch on soft coral

Bullocki nudibranch

Another beauty on the reef and favourite amongst divers from pretty much all over the world is the Hypselodoris bullocki nudibranch. Their vivid colours are mesmerising.

Carpet eel-blenny

Carpet eel-blenny

They look potentially fierce but this Carpet eel-blenny is infinitely shy. Once they notice they’ve been spotted they try to either retreat into a rock crevice or make a quick getaway! It’s during the latter that we manage to get such shots of the gorgeous patterns along the length of their bodies. This fish has a diagnostic white mouth and is commonly spotted on our reefs.

Blue swimmer crab

Blue swimmer crab

To end it all off is a little feisty-ness from a little Blue swimmer crab. These guys are fast, very aggressive and can deliver a very painful pinch. You don’t have to do anything to aggravate them. It’s probably because they are actually very vulnerable. When they feel threatened, they flare both their pincers up along their sides of their body to make themselves appear larger.

Can’t wait to get back into the water next month.

One Response to “Blog Log, 31 May 2009: Vicarious Excitement”

  1. Janina said:

    My fav is the Seahorse pic. I can imagine it saying “hi, my name is shy…shy seahorse”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>