Banda Sea Images

Decorator crab off Pantar, Indonesia by Ned DeLoachBanda Sea, April 2014 ~ This algae covered decorator crab, found by Ned on a night dive off Pantar, Indonesia, is one of my favorite images from our April trip around the Banda Sea. We boarded the Dewi Nusantara in Ambon and dived our way down through and around the southern perimeter of the Banda Sea and across through the Alor region, ending in Flores. And oh, what a trip!

Last year, I posted about the little bryozoan goby that Graham Abbott found in Ambon. We looked for it all the way down from Halmahera to Ambon, but only found it in Ambon at the end of our cruise. This year, our trip started in Ambon, so we searched for it as we traveled south but didn’t find it until we reached Alor. After we blogged about it last year, the fish became quite an attraction with the dive operators in Ambon and I shared information about how to find these tiny, cryptic fish with others. I am pleased to say that one of them found the goby in Lembeh a few months ago, so it is now known from Ambon, Alor and Lembeh. I can understand Ambon and Alor, but I find it interesting this fish wasn’t seen earlier in Lembeh, a muck diving mecca visited by thousands of divers. Just shows how knowing something exists can often be the key to more sightings.

Another fish that we have been searching for is Cirrhilabrus humanni, a fairy wrasse I discovered in 2010 off Pura Island and formally described by Dr. Gerry Allen in 2012. During our 2010 trip, I only saw the one male with a harem of many females so we were keen to know more about its range. This time our friend, Dr. Richard Smith, was the first to find one. Alerted to its presence by Richard, we found a couple more on the dive site off Alor. Richard’s wonderful shot is posted on his site, Oceanrealmimages.com.

I have seen many Midas Blennies, but never one in its courting colors. The banded pattern caught my attention but it took a while to realize which blenny it was because it was so large. I pestered Ned until he went back with me to take photos. One shallow outcropping sported a highly motivated population of at least eight males. Midas Blenny Ned DeLoach Blennywatcher.com

On an early morning dive, our guide Yann pointed out Red-margined Wrasse, also flashing bright courting colors.Red-margined Wrasse by Ned DeLoach

I found this stunner, a flasher wrasse (possibly undescribed), on a late afternoon dive and finally got the attention of Ned, our guide Yann and our friend Dave Dempsey, who were equally impressed! We were able to return the next day so everyone else could see these beauties.Wrasse in Alor region Ned Deloach Blennywatcher.com

Night dives almost always yield fabulous creatures like this bumblebee shrimp perched on a brightly colored sea apple. Bumblebee shrimp feed on the tube feet of echinoderms, which is why we often find them on sea cucumbers and urchins.Bumblebee shrimp in sea apple by Ned DeLoach

You can get an idea of how small this Bobtail squid is by comparing it to the shrimp it is holding. Ned shot this photo as the squid was capturing its dinner.Bobtail squid eating a shrimp Ned DeLoach

Who can resist a teddy bear? During a mucky night dive, Ned found this Teddy Bear Crab out bimbling around. I touched it – couldn’t resist – it was so soft.Teddy Bear Crab off Alor Indonesia by Ned DeLoach

It is hard to believe that this tiny Pinnate Batfish grows up to be a large, rather nondescript silver-gray fish.Pinnate Batfish Alor Indonesia by Ned DeLoach

This cuttlefish was not impressed with Ned and his camera. Here, it exhibits what I think is a threat display.Cuttlefish off Pantar by Ned DeLoach

It isn’t uncommon to see Fire Dartfish singly or in pairs, but just outside of Banda, I found a group of almost 20! True to their name, they darted into their holes when we approached but Ned caught a respectable number in his shot.Dartfish Banda Sea Ned DeLoach Blennywatcher.com

We close with happy bees of Banda – we had a lovely morning walking tour of a nutmeg plantation and fort on Banda Neira. Happy Bees, Banda Neira, Indonesia Blennywatcher.com

Caribbean Invertebrate Quiz

For the past two weeks, we challenged you to test your identification skills on invertebrate close-ups from the Indo-Pacific. As promised, here is a Caribbean invertebrate quiz. These images are close-ups of invertebrates that are found in the waters of the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean. Click on each image to reveal the entire animal:

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Do you know what this is? Click on the image to reveal.

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What about this? Click on image to reveal.

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Hope you have enjoyed these past few posts – we’ll be back with more from time to time ~ the Blennywatchers

Invertebrate Quiz #2

A few days ago, we posted an invertebrate quiz made up of five close-up images that could be clicked on to reveal the entire animal. Response was good, so here are five more from the Indo-Pacific to try out:

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Do you know what this is? Click in the image to reveal the entire animal.

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Click on this image to reveal the entire animal.

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Check back with us soon. We’ll post invertebrates from the Caribbean next.

 

Invertebrates!

Invertebrates! Animals without backbones. Today we are celebrating the diversity and beauty of Earth’s 97% with a little quiz. Here is your chance to test your knowledge and enjoy some of our favorite marine invertebrates from the Indo-Pacific.

To take the quiz, scroll down and see if you recognize the invertebrate. Click on each photo to reveal the answer. They might be easy for some of you but we hope you have fun anyway. We’ll be back later this week with a few more.

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Know this one? Click on the photo to reveal the entire animal.

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And what about this? Click the image to reveal

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I normally pass these by. Click on the image to reveal the animal.

We’ll be back later in the week with more invertebrates from the Indo-Pacific and maybe some from the Caribbean too.