Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Squid, Crabs, Shrimp and more from Tulamben, Bali

Tiny free swimming bobtail squid
  While searching for nudibranchs in the waters off Tulamben, we found a lot of other wondrous creatures to keep the camera firing. Our local dive guide Tisnu spotted a tiny swimming speck which turned out to be a baby bobtail squid. I fought for a few minutes trying to focus on and snap a picture. I will say it was a hundred times easier when the squid landed on a nearby hydroid.

Pipefish Camouflage
Crabs blended in with their surroundings and shrimp found interesting homes on the underside of sea stars and on a single piece of wire coral. While most of these methods of camouflage are for defense, the giant mantis shrimp needs no such thing.

Sea Star Shrimp
  The giant mantis shrimp looks like a medium size lobster when totally out of its hole. But usually prey won't get that chance to see that. This giant shrimp sits deep within its burrow, with only its two complex eyes poking up, stalking the possible prey nearby.

Giant Mantis Shrimp

Crinoid Shrimp
Jeweled Anemone Shrimp
  Tisnu continued to have a great eye both at night and during the day for some truly amazing macro critters. Our biggest crab find came when Tisnu found a small boxer crab, aka pom pom crab, in about 10ft of water in a rubble field. These beautiful crabs may have the wildest defensive strategy discovered yet.

Let the search begin
   Boxer crabs are well known for their mutualistic relationship with sea anemones, which they hold in their claws for defense. The anemones have stinging cells similar to jelly fish. It is not vital to the crab's survival to carry around these anemones as some have been found surviving without. However all of the boxer crabs that I have seen have had them.

Boxer, or Pom Pom crab


There is something special about this boxer crab, a bunch of eggs attached on the underside. Lots of little boxer crabs to find on future dives!

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