CRITTER CRADLE RE-VISITED

Muck and Critter Heaven
[March 2014, Lembeh Strait @ the northern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia]

When I roll into the warm water of Lembeh Strait I know already that I am going to find a mind-boggling array of the wildest marine biodiversity I can imagine displayed on a beaitufil dark lava sand background. Lembeh Strait is a small water body separating Sulwesi’s northern tip mainland from Lembeh Island. When re-visiting this holy muck diving place my focus was on mimicry (when an animal tries to resemble another species to gain advantage) and symbiotic relationships often called commensalism (sharing table). This biologic term commensalism includes mutualism and parasitism and the spectra in between.

K3_Master_of_disguiseThe mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) on the move! A Cephalopod capable of mimicing other sea creatures. The mimic octopus was first discovered off the coast of Sulawesi by a group of scientists in the early 1990s.

The expedition was a great success and the findings and subjects beyond what my research could give me hopes for. A photographers’ dream of ocean diversity like tiny boxing crabs carrying around anemones in their claws, pregnant mantis shrimps, hunting hairy frogfish, wonderpuses and mimic octopuses swimming in the afternoon light just to name a few.

MLU_20140312_181812_21USA hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus) yawning.
I took the opportunity to explore shooting with a wet teleconverter which can be described as a diopter on steroids that can be placed in front of a macro lens underwater when photographing tiny subjects too small for regular 1:1 macro photography. There is basically two of these available today and one is from Nauticam and the other from SubSee. On this shoot I used the SubSee +10 lens in combination with Nauticam flip holder making it easy to flip the lens in place when needed. It was a blast to work with this device especially for a user with full frame set-up. Short report on SubSee and Nauticam SMC lenses to follow.

I want to thank both Exposure Expeditions, P&H Travel and Divers’s Lodge Lembeh who supported the whole logisitic side and provided all the neccessary local knowledge I needed.

Anemone fishSkunk anemonefish (Amphiprion akallopisos) life is dependant to the sea anemones but sea anemones can live without the anemonefish.