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Marine Life Blog » Indonesia, Lembeh » Sea beans, Hermit Crabs and the Liberty Bug

Sea beans, Hermit Crabs and the Liberty Bug

 

Sea Beans

Sea Beans

 

 

 

 

March 22-23:

I spent the morning on the beach looking for sea beans. Confined to the surface by a head cold, I’m consoling myself by searching for treasures, drifted in from the sea. I try to collect some from every shore we visit and was not disappointed today. Johnny, one of the dive team, tells me the local name for the flat red seed is “batu panas.” “Hot rock?” I ask. He demonstrates by vigorously rubbing the seed on the dock and touching it to another guide’s arm. “Hot stone!” he laughs.

Feeling better just in time for the night dive, I joined the guys for the first dive at TK1, where I spent the first twenty minutes following a pair of hermit crabs, one in frantic pursuit of the other. Just as I was beginning to think I should have stayed with Ned and Liberty and hunted for shrimp, the lead crab stopped, extended her body way out of her shell and began flapping her legs. As I swung around to face her, I could see she had a clutch of gray eggs, and was fanning her abdomen to release her hatchlings. A minute into the effort, her partner shoved her away and before I could be too indignant about my ruined shot, a third crab appeared in my video screen and a lively battle ensued.

I’m still a bit confused about why the crabs were fighting over a female who was still carrying eggs, but it made for a very entertaining dive.
    

Bug on Leaf

Bug on Leaf

We’ve had the pleasure of spending a few days with Garth and Rose McQuade, keen photographers from South Africa, who proved once again that good eyes for nature work above as well as below water. Garth pointed out this beautiful caterpillar, working its way around the dive center. Garth and Rose are members of the Gauteng Underwater Photographic Society who sponsor the underwater photo competition, the Sodwana Shootout (www.shootout.co.za).  They’ve convinced us to move South Africa up on our must-do list. 

Another night dive at Nudi Retreat, where Ned and Liberty are “red hot with shrimp” (my apologies to Charles Darwin for the play on words.) We did back-to-back night dives in pursuit of a neon orange hingebeak shrimp that remains elusive. They did find this beauty, that Ned has nicknamed the Liberty Bug.

 

Liberty Bug

Liberty Bug

I spent the dive studying hermit crabs. More on that tomorrow. 
 

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