Invertebrates

The Goby and its Partner Shrimp

Published April 24, 2014

Wakatobi’s numerous plateaus and overhangs with sandy bottoms present the ideal habitat for the blind shrimp and goby. Their fascinating relationship can be witnessed on numerous dive sites surrounding the resort. Photo by David Gray Literally hundreds of different species of goby (Gobiidae) live in symbiosis with shrimps, a relationship that benefits them both. The shrimp digs a burrow and continuously keeps it tidy, “cleaning house” all day long. The shrimp has a weak vision and uses the goby as an early warning system. The goby benefits from a safe haven and, with good vision, guards their shared home. The […]

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Kings of Camouflage

Published January 12, 2014

It could be lurking close by, blending in perfectly with the coral reef or a sea grass bed. But unless it chooses to reveal itself, you could swim right by this alien-like creature without even knowing it was there. Sometimes referred to as “the chameleon of the sea,” cuttlefish have a remarkable ability to rapidly alter their skin color and patterning at will—sometimes seeming to disappear among their surroundings, then suddenly exploding in a pulsating display of moving light that can hypnotize prey or signal to others of their kind. With eight arms growing out of their heads, and three […]

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モンハナシャコの面白い行動

Published October 11, 2013

ワカトビのリーフには、ウミウチワやカイメンなど様々なサンゴが広がり、そのカラフルなカーペットの下に不思議な生物たちが隠れています。それらの珍しい生物を見つけるには、ガレ場で小さな穴がある所を探すのが簡単です。 このハナシャコ科に分類されるシャコの一種は、他の弱虫なエビとは異なり、実はとても気性の荒い攻撃的な生物なのです。巣穴を作るための材料を探しまわり、手の込んだ巣穴を作るこのシャコは、捕脚肢という前足を使い目にも止まらない早さで獲物をパンチし、捕獲するハンターなのです。もしダイバーが挑発すると、指を切られる恐れもあるので手は出さないようにしましょう。 SF映画に出てくるエイリアンのような目をしていますが、モンハナシャコは動物界でも最も複雑な目を持っており、地球上で一番優れた視力を持っている生物なのです。頭の上にあるそれぞれの目は前後左右別々に動かす事ができ、獲物や捕食者を追跡する時に役立ちます。また、シャコの仲間が持つユニークな三眼視は円偏光も認識でき、紫外線領域を含む12のカラーチャンネルを持つため、10万色の色を識別することができるのです!(私達人間はわずか3つのカラーチャンネルしか持っていないため、一万色までしか識別することができません。) モンハナシャコが巣穴を直したり整えたりする姿やハンティングをする姿は、とても興味深い光景です。モンハナシャコに気付かれないようゆっくりアプローチすると、彼らの行動を間近で観察することが出来ますが、信じられないほどの強烈パンチを食らう可能性があるので、決して手は出さないようにしましょう。

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The Bizarre Burrow Builder

Published July 3, 2013

Wakatobi’s reefs are covered in a colorful carpet of corals, sponges and gorgonians that shelter a range of interesting creatures. To find one of the area’s most intriguing and bizarre animals of all, look beyond the growth to find a bare spot where coral rubble surrounds a small hole. The Mantis shrimp or Stomatopod is not just another wimpy shrimp. It’s an industrious builder that roams the reef in search of materials to build elaborate burrows. The mantis is also a formidable hunter, with lightning-fast claws that smash or spear prey, and could give a diver a pretty nasty finger cut if […]

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Nudibranchs: Beautiful but Dangerous Marine Creatures

Published May 8, 2013

With the creation of Nudibranchs, Mother Nature expressed her wildest indulgence of colors and forms. This month in Wakatobi, as the water temperature drops to 27 degrees, there seems to be a simultaneous increase in the size, variety and amount of Nudibranchs. The dive team decided to focus on these amazingly beautiful “butterflies of the sea”. Nudibranchs belong to the Phylum Molusca, along with other sea shells or molluscs. They are part of the class of the gastropods, or univalves and belong to the sub-class Opisthobranchia, along with sea hares and slugs. These colourful and bizarre creatures have astonishingly remarkable […]

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