Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Night Dive at Tasi Tolu

Soft Coral Crab

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Thorny Seahorse

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Partner Imperial Shrimp

Nick found this beautiful set of big partner imperial shrimp.

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Wonder Octopus

Lendell and I found a Wonder Octopus (Octopus sp. 20) at Tasi Tolu (12 meters) today. If you don't already own a copy of Macrolife: UnderWater Malaysia by Andrea and Antonella Ferrari, run out to the corner bookstore and get one! Ok, you may need to order it on Amazon. According to the Ferraris, the Wonder Octopus is "very rarely observed but never forgotten once seen". They also mentioned how difficult it is to photograph; I was able to frame two shots before our Wonder Octopus wondered into a hole.

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Imperial Partner Shrimp

This Periclemenes imperator was on a funky sea cucumber (photo at right) at Dili Rock West. This is the same shrimp that is found on larger nudis, although I have yet to find one here in Timor.

This lionfish was at 25 meters

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

What is it Contest

Anybody got a guess what this is? Submit the correct answer via email and win an 'all-inclusive' TM* weekend dive at Tasi Tolu.

* 'all-inclusive' is a registered trademark of UWET.NET and does not imply anything more than nothing and does not obligate UWET.NET in any way. Anyway, nobody's going to get this one right. Posted by Picasa
From Wednesday's night dive at Tasi Tolu.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006


Look closely at this Xenocrab (25mm). It may help to click on this photo to enlarge it. Notice the tiny shrimp (4mm) hanging out on the Xenocrab's head.

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Ceratosoma tenue

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Melibe viridis

We found two distinct species of Melibe this morning at Tasi Tolu, including three individuals that I believe to be Melibe viridis. Although we have seen relatively small species of Melibe in the past (perhaps juvenile viridis), this is our first encounter with the larger Melibes. While we observed, one of the individuals caught and ate a small crab. It seemed to take about 10 seconds for the Melibe to work the live crab into its 'mouth' before continuing its hunt.

According to the Sea Slug Forum:
Species of Melibe feed on shrimps, crabs and other small crustacea which they catch by waving the inflated oral hood over the substrate like a metal detector. When the sensory papillae touch a crustacean the hood rapidly closes, trapping the prey inside where it is gradually manipulated back to the 'mouth'. Species of Melibe lack a radula, prey remaining alive in the gut until killed by digestive juices.
Just a few weeks ago I commented somewhat sympathetically on sea slugs' incredible ability to endure the stinging, biting, and otherwise annoying microscopic 'wildlife' they encounter. But these Melibe seem more like formidable predators, unlikely to be deterred by a pesky syllid.

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Commensal Shrimp on a Sea Cucumber

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