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Skeleton Shrimp by day, Hingebeak shrimp by night

March 20 – We made our first dive of the day at Nudi Retreat, a site where I have, in the past, seen a swarm of convict fish juveniles. No luck finding them today, but we did find a gorgonian just loaded with skeleton shrimp. These tiny crustaceans of the family Caprellidae, with their riotous behavior, are interesting enough to consume an entire dive. The females carry their eggs in an abdominal brood pouch and when the nearly microscopic babies hatch, they cling to their mother. To find them, I search the crowd for a fat, fuzzy shrimp then zoom in for the fun. Dr. Gustav Paulay said most are unidentified because they are highly endemic (I suppose because they don’t have a pelagic larval stage.) Mike Elliot has a hilarious video of skeleton shrimp called “Rasta Pasta”, available on DiveFilm’s HD podcasts (http://muckdiver.com/).  

 We’ve spent the last few days trading stories with the gang from Scuba Hut of Maryland. They are all making the transfer this afternoon over to Kima Bajo to spend a week diving the Manado side of North Sulawesi. 
 

Scuba Hut of Maryland

Scuba Hut of Maryland

 

 I’m not making the night dive because my cold has caught up with me but Ned and Liberty are carrying on, happy to be back at work. I’m off to bed and will leave it to Ned to report on the night dive. 

Crustacean Hunters: Ned and Liberty

Crustacean Hunters: Ned and Liberty

 

Another Hingebeak for the book

Another Hingebeak for the book

Kick-in-the-Britches-Good First Night Dive It was just Liberty and me who shoved away from the KBR dock at 6 PM for the first night dive of the trip. Poor Anna remained in the room nursing a head full of sniffles – the artifact of a rather nasty cold picked up on our flight over. Because nearly everything in the sea loves to eat crustaceans, most crabs, shrimps and lobsters only venture out from their hiding holes after sunset – a behavior which has necessitated a steady routine of night diving ever since we began working on a Pacific critter ID guide four years ago. Eagle-eyed Liberty, our longtime friend and indispensable dive guide had discovered a species of hingebeak shrimp the month before at Batu Angus (Burned Rock) that he didn’t think we had photographed previously. And as usual he was right. It is a red and white striped beauty that fills yet another void in our ever growing files of marine invertebrates. But the new hingebeak was only the beginning of our two-hour underwater bonanza.

 

A new Saron Shrimp

A new Saron Shrimp

Batu Angus, one of Anna’s and my many favorite dive sites, is a narrow tributary formed by the collapse of an ancient lava tube that angles inland from the northern mouth of the Strait toward the black slopes of Dua Saudara, one of two volcanic peaks that dominates the mainland. If you have been to the Strait before, you might remember the area as the site of the famed Mandarinfish dive. The same rubble bed that hides the Mandarins during the day shelters a prolific set of eye-popping critters that slip out after the lights go out. One of these nocturnal characters just happened to be a species of shrimp from genus Saron also missing from our photographic collection.  

 Adding to the evening’s windfall was a cleaner shrimp in genus Urocaridella busily picking parasites from a sleeping Blackspotted Puffer.

Blackspotted puffer being cleaned

Blackspotted puffer being cleaned

 

 And a splendid little two-inch juvenile Pinnate Batfish flitting about the rubble bottom in all its black and orange glory.    

 

Juvenile Pinnate Batfish

Juvenile Pinnate Batfish

Anna, was fast asleep when I slipped back into the room at eleven, probably dreaming of underwater wonders, or a new pair of shoes.

 

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One Response to "Skeleton Shrimp by day, Hingebeak shrimp by night"

  1. Tony Wu says:

    It was great to meet you, if only briefly. Have a safe, fun and productive adventure! Please say hi to Geri for me.

    I posted a picture of Paul. Wish I had had a camera with me at the pier when you visited

    http://www.tonywublog.com/20090325/meeting-paul.html

    Cheers,

    Tony

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