A lovely Friday morning in Phuket after a hard working “3 weeks” in Eastern Europe and 6 hours jetlag after a nice Qatar Airlines flight. It always feels so good to get on board the Excalibur II with Seabees for a day of diving and photographing under water.
After a boat ride of a bit over an hour we reach Racha Yai and get on the mooring line in Bay 3. We are diving in a group of 4 with Megan Olivia, one of seabees most experienced dive instructors.
As we get in the water it is immediately clear that the current is not at 0.3 but rather feels like a serious “Maldives” style >1.0 (;,….so we work our way to the “far cubes” at 30m depth as a few weeks ago a frogfish was spotted there. As we arrive at the cubes, after an already labour intensive 15 min, we first see a stonefish on the top of the cubes. We swim around the cubes to find just before we head back just beneath the initial stonefish our very very well camouflaged frogfish. Luckily I am diving with Nitrox 36 and still have enough bottom time to make 1 shot before we had back to the mooring line. 34 minutes after we entered the water we finish the dive as we “enjoyed” the current……happy we have seen Mr Frogfish in all his glory (or Mdm Frogfish….who will tell).
We love diving in Mabul – Borneo
The dive sites are all rich in marine live and a paradise for Macro lovers. Natasha and i had the pleasure diving there with both our sons (be it not with both at them at the same time so far) Alexander and Constantijn…..always under the dive guidance of one of the best dive instructors we ever have been diving with Ramil Densing Reasonable at Sipadan Water Village.
The Nembrotha Kubaryana is easily confused with a similar species, Nembrotha Cristata although the latter has no red orange border on its foot. As you see from the photo above as our friend was climbing the rock you see a bit of orange on his back and front part.
Also on the second picture the close observer will see that hidden behind the marvellous green is a bit of orange.
Both species the Kubaryana and the Cristata are pretty aggressive nudibranches that would not mind “eating one of their own” …out of pure “love”.
Enjoy a fantastic colourful Valentines day
@All for a smile
Dear friends @ All for a smile,
Our friends for tonight are making love and exchanging semen at a moment the world is more into building walls rather then building bridges. All pictures were taken at “barracuda point” in Sipadan, Borneo.
The two lovely dudes I had the honor and pleasure photographing a few years ago are also know as the Gymnodoris rubropapulosa.
The are in fact pretty aggressive even though they look very “amicable” and tender in their rozy outfit. They are eating their friends and swallow them completely as recently reported on Nudipixel.
That day on 2012 they were exchanging semen. Both partners are both male and female at the same time. They are “toe to tail 69” and as they are working through this you see clearly in the picture how their bodies are lighting up. The picture on the left was simply taken with the same settings as the one above but from a slightly bigger distance (and then cropped out a bit)….illustrating that the exchange of life is indeed like a “lightening moment in life”.
The “gils” of the nudi’s are the “brainlike” structures. The gils are her partly retracted. They are also called “anal gils” as they are centered around the anal part of the Nudi’s at the back end of their boddies.
As I was watching nature in front of my lens both partners moved on…..
One of these moment in life….
@ All for a Smile
The last 2 days I shared @All for a smile, 2 for us “new” nudi’s. Today I am posting 2 pictures of the Colpodaspis Thompsoni….another “new” nudi for us.
All 3 of them we saw during our last diving trip to Phuket Thailand and on our last diving day on Jan 5th at Racha Noi – Racha Yai. The Colpodaspis Thompsoni Alexander Schepens found in Bungalow bay at the end of the dive as we were almost swimming out of the bay with the island on the right shoulder at 12 meter depth. With a size of max o,5 cm a very small brightly coloured, snail-like sea slug.
“The fragile bubble-shaped shell is completely enveloped by the mantle. On the right side of the mantle there is an elongate exhalent siphon. The head is produced into a pair of enrolled tentacles or rhinophores which lead to a deep lateral groove on each side. The eyes are embedded beneath the skin and can be seen as two black spots just in front of the shell. There is a large central mucus gland in the sole of the foot which probably produces a sticky mucus enabling the animal to stick on the algae on which it is found. It is black with large yellowish warts on white patches.
We know nothing of the biology or food of any species of Colpodaspis.
The placing of Colpodaspis with Diaphana and Newnesia in the Diaphanoidea, by most experts, is a marriage of convenience rather than a convincing statement of phylogenetic relationships. Further studies are required before we can say anything sensible about their relationship to each other and to other opisthobranchs.”
@ All for Smile
During the same dive (cfr. my previous post re Chromodoris Hintuanensis) Constantijn pointed out a very interesting species …..4 mm wide and about 2 cm long …slowly crawling on a hairy rock. While I was taking the picture my brain was already getting excited as this was the second new species in one dive. I had never seen this nudi.
Back on the boat we all started looking in the Nudibranch books and could not find any hint to this species. That is when we baptised this species as being the “hypsolodoris Constantinos”.
Later that week Jeffrey Davies found a link via Nudipixel identifying this species as PHYLLIDIA MONACHA.
“This small phyllidiid is characterised by 3, mid-dorsal, longitudinal ridges formed by tiny tubercles plus lots of small, simple tubercles on the flanks resembling those of Phyllidia coelestis. Colour wise the central area is orange and the crests of the ridges are white. On the flanks is a black line (either, simple and straight as in Indonesian specimens, or enlarged and wavy as in the animals from the Red Sea) outlined in white. These broad white halos/stripes are composed of large pigment granules resembling those of Phyllidia willani. The rhinophores are dark orange. This species is uncommon and it was previously only known from the Red Sea. There is a photo of a specimen from Flores in Debelius & Kuiter (page 270, middle of bottom row) — Richard Willan”.
So now we also know that the Phyllidia Monacha is not only living in the Red sea but is also home to Racha Noy …at Maritta’s rock.
@ All for a smile
Early January 2017. It is Friday and Racha Noi day in Chalong with Seabees diving. For Natasha and me it is also our last diving day of this holiday as we need to fly back to Almaty Kazakhstan to take on our professional duties (which for the time being are not yet full time diving). The tour leader on the Excalibur II is Alexander Schepens. Also today he had a marvellous team of dive instructors on the boat as always….and not by accident(;,. We are lucky to have also Jeffrey Davies, one of the worlds famous Nudibranch experts on the boat….and while we are not diving in the same “dive group” we decided to be diving closely together. Good specialists together see more then on their own….l’union fait la force
The first dive is at Maritta Rock. Natasha and I are diving with Alexander as our dive instructor and with Nick another “loyal” seabees diver. As we decent into the crystal clear water we enjoy the big boulders and soon we are at +- 23 meter. On the edge of a very big boulder Jeff is photographing the Chromodoris Hintuanensis. For me it is the first time I see this nudibranch in Phuket. I take 3 pictures with my Nikon D800 at F16 and 1/200 at ISO200.
After the dive also Jeff can not immediately remember the name and when he has seen the Hintuanensis the last time….turns out that in 2008 he posted the last sighting on Nudipixel. Very happy to have found a for us “new species”. We finish a very nice first dive of the day.
After lunch we do the second dive of the day at Racha Noy “Natka Rock”….always quite and “easy”…..but never boring and always ready for some new “news”. We frankly called the dive site like this as the Thai name we always forget ….and as it is next to “Maritta rock”…and Natka is my better second half and super dive lady and dive partner.
This time Natka and I dive with Alexander, Nick and Ladina. What a big surprise when we find after a few minutes already another Chromodoris Hintuanensis, this time a very juvenile one. Also new, at least for us is that in this specimen the rhinophores are disproportionately developed. Be it an aberation of nature or a “normal” evolution where juveniles have when they are very young disproportionate rhinophores we do not know yet…..so if you have any inside on this just let us know.
On the same dive day we found for us 3 more “new species” of nudibranches that at least Natasha , Alexander, Ladina and I have never seen on Racha Noy…..more on this in some later post.
Enjoy the beauty of the see….
@ All for a smile