MARINE LIFE

Horses of a different color

Published January 28, 2014

Though you might not guess it based on name or appearance, seahorses are actually fish, and pygmy seahorses are some of the smallest fishes in the sea. The largest specimens would barely stretch across a silver dollar coin. Their tiny size and near-perfect camouflage kept pygmy seahorses hidden from humans until very recently. But once discovered, they have become superstars of Indian Ocean reefs, and the favorite subject of a growing number of photographers. Pygmy central Wakatobi Dive Resort has earned a reputation as one of the premier locations in the world to find pygmy seahorses. The surrounding waters of […]

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Kings of Camouflage

Published January 12, 2014

With eight arms growing out of their heads, and three hearts pumping blue blood through their pliable, gelatinous bodies, cuttlefish may seem like creatures from another planet, but they actually thrive in abundant numbers on the colorful reefs of Wakatobi. Alien-like intelligence from the deep blue It could be lurking close by, blending in perfectly with the coral reef or a sea grass bed. But unless the cuttlefish 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 […]

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Beyond the Bathtub

Published October 9, 2013

Sponges are much more than cleaning accessories, they are the ocean’s original reef builders. Did you know that sponges (Phylum Porifera) are one of the oldest simple multicellular organisms in the animal kingdom? In other words, they’ve been around a long, long time, first appearing in the ocean more than half a billion years ago. Wakatobi boasts one of the highest diversities in sponge species worldwide, much to the pleasure of wide-angle photographers. Differences in species can be attributed to available habitats, and the greater the diversity of habitat, the greater the number of species. In more tropical waters such […]

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Born on the Reef

Published September 4, 2013

On the coral reefs, there are many challenges to reproduction and survival -from larvae to adult. Let’s explore the unique behaviors and methods marine animals have developed to meet these challenges.   The first step to successful reproduction is finding a suitable mate. Usually, it’s the male who does the seeking, looking for the best female—and he will try anything to attract her (sound familiar?). At dusk, dozens upon dozens of Mandarinfish at Magic Pier in Pasarwajo Bay (a Pelagian Yacht signature dive), can be witnessed performing their beautiful courting dance. Accessed only by Pelagian, this is one of the best […]

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Uncommon Senses

Published July 16, 2013

Marine animals have many different ways to interpret the world Like us, marine animals depend on their senses to interpret the world around them. But the ways in which they taste, touch, smell, see and hear are quite different from what we know. Some use feet rather than tongues to sample their meals, while others detect noise and vibrations with their skin instead of ears. Such adaptations may seem bizarre to us topside dwellers, but in the ocean, they provide the sensory advantages needed to find prey, escape predators, or communicate with a potential mate. Let’s take a look at some […]

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Life’s a Carnival

Published July 11, 2013

There’s a show of marine life at Wakatobi. It’s been said that life is like a carnival. This certainly seems true when you are diving at Wakatobi. The show begins the moment you arrive at the reef, that underwater equivalent of the midway at a festival. There, you are enveloped in a blurring parade of festive colors and frenetic activity. Show-stopping beauties steal the limelight, roving bands of juveniles flit in and out of the crowd, and there are plenty of everyone’s favorites: the sideshow freaks. Ever had a close look at the eyes of a mantis shrimp? This underwater […]

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Cute and Deadly: Learn about the Puffer Family

Published July 9, 2013

There’s more to puffer fish than meets the eye. They go by many names: pufferfish, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish, toadies and sea squab. Regardless of what they’re called, these members of the Tetraodontidae fish family are best known for their unique ability to expand and take on the appearance of spiked balloons when they are threatened. The waters of Wakatobi are home to a number of species of puffers that are easy to find and fascinating to watch. Let’s meet some of these inflatable “soccer balls of the sea.”   With more than 120 species in the family, […]

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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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The Trees of the Coral Jungle

Published June 6, 2013

The saying “can’t see the forest for the trees” refers to a person’s tendency to focus on the details to the point of missing the big picture. Divers certainly have no problem seeing the big picture at Wakatobi. The clear, sun-dappled waters reveal a vast landscape of coral jungle. Sometimes, however, it is the details of the seemingly infinite collection of marine organisms – from fish life to the smallest of invertebrates – living within the corals and sponges that are easily overlooked. Some are well camouflaged, but many more are simply small, and lost amid the riotous colors and […]

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The Fish that Goes Fishing

Published June 6, 2013

When you think of a predator, what attributes come to mind? Streamlined speed, explosive agility, aggressive strength… and then there’s the frogfish. Slow, reclusive and lacking in both offensive and defensive weaponry—not to mention being far from streamlined—the frogfish wouldn’t seem to have the tools needed to become a lethal predator. Yet despite some seeming shortcomings in the attack department, these enigmatic little creatures have developed a unique strategy to capture prey: they hide in plain sight and go fishing. Truly, frogfish are one of nature’s most unusual creatures. Watch the video to see the frogfish catch a meal! (video […]

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