My DVDs are now manufactured and shipped by CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon, and I designed a new sleeve for my “Diving in Bali” DVD. You can still find them at http://www.bubblevision.com/marine-life-DVD.htm
Answer to my video puzzle “How Many Fish?”. There are 2 frogfishes here. I never saw the far one until I watched this video back on my computer.
How many fish do you see in this video? Answers in the comments please. If you think you know the species (common name or scientific name), please add that too.
Scuba diving in Bali. This DVD is available to purchase on my website.
Diving in Bali is a document of an extraordinary expedition I made to Indonesia’s magical island of Bali in 2006 with Aquamarine Diving. From Tulamben’s awesome USAT Liberty wreck, to the reef manta rays of Nusa Penida, via the fascinating macro marine life of Tulamben and Seraya Secrets, the footage covers the breadth of Bali’s fascinating underwater world.
The video features 158 species of marine life, and their common and scientific names are available by turning on the captions with the CC button under the video.
From Tulamben there is footage of the wreck of the USAT Liberty in both day time and night time, including the humphead parrotfish that spend the night there. Also from Tulamben are numerous marine live encounters from dives at the Drop-Off and the Coral Garden.
Just around the corner we make a dive at Seraya Secrets, a macro hotspot where I encountered seahorses and nudibranchs. From Padangbai on the east coast of Bali we have footage from The Blue Lagoon and Pura Jepun. From the island of Nusa Penida we have the manta ray cleaning station, Manta Point, and Ped.
Full list of dive sites featured in this video:
1. USAT Liberty Shipwreck, Tulamben
The USAT Liberty was torpedoed by the Japanese off Lombok and beached at Tulamben in Bali. In 1963 the last eruption of Mount Agung caused the wreck to slide deeper into the sea where she lies today. The USAT Liberty shipwreck makes an excellent dive site. This video features the towering stern, the coral-encrusted gun on the bow, green humphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum), a Pacific hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata bissa), garden eels, sweetlips and lots of other interesting marine life from the wreck and its surroundings.
The USAT Liberty also makes a fantastic night dive. Green humphead parrotfish sleep in the protection of the wreck. Other highlights include a Spanish dancer and a bluespotted ribbontail ray.
2. Coral Garden, Tulamben
The Coral Garden at Tulamben lies conveniently right off the middle of the beach. Skunk cleaner shrimps tend to moray eels and groupers at a cleaning station based around a barrel sponge. Also featuring a ribbon eel, ghost pipefish, leaf scorpionfish and trevallies schooling in the shallows.
3. Tulamben Drop-Off
Video from the Drop-Off at Tulamben, Bali, featuring a spectacular giant purple knotted sea fan, nudibranchs, a ghost pipefish and a seahorse. Before and after exploring the Drop-Off we spend time in the shallows where we meet Tulamben’s famous schools of trevallies.
By night the drop-off at Tulamben provides plenty of treats for the visiting diver. This video includes a squat lobster, a cone shell, a dwarf cuttlefish, a hermit crab and various pretty reef fish.
4. Seraya Secrets
Seraya Secrets, nearby to Tulamben, is an exellent muck dive known for weird and wonderful critters. Here we encounter some batfish around the artificial reef project in the shallows. A little deeper we find 2 thorny seahorses, catfish, an anemone crab and nudibranchs.
5. Blue Lagoon, Padangbai
The Padangbai area on the east coast of Bali provides some fantastic diving. Just north of Padangbai lies the Blue Lagoon. This footage comes from my first ever dive in Indonesia with a video camera and features leaf scorpionfish, cuttelfish, anemonefish, lionfish, shrimps, catfish, nudibranchs, moorish idols and a goby.
6. Pura Jepun, Padangbai
Pura Jepun also lies just north of Padangbai and is home to some fantastic marine life. This video features clownish, sweetlips, angelfish, a peacock mantis shrimp, a stingray, a panther grouper, a wart slug, ribbon eels, a scorpionfish and a flying gurnard.
7. Manta Point, Nusa Penida
On the north-east side of Nusa Penida lies a cleaning station for reef manta rays (Manta alfredi) known as “Manta Point”. On 23rd May 2006 we had the pleasure of diving with these graceful giants.
8. PED, Nusa Penida
Ped is sloping reef on the north coast of Nusa Penida. Here we encounter a variety of tropical reef fishes including angelfish, triggerfish, anemonefish and scorpionfish, as well as a rhizostome jellyfish.
Thanks to Toao for the music tracks, “Deep Blue”, “Starbeam”, “Afterglow”, “Time & Space” and “Woodsman”, and to Erik Verkoyen for “Prickly Shark”.
The giant manta ray, Manta birostris, is a common visitor to Thailand. The first manta ray in this video was filmed at Koh Bon’s south-west ridge, north of the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea, where scuba divers can often encounter giant manta rays.
We then meet another giant manta ray at Hin Daeng in Thailand’s southern islands, another popular scuba diving destination.
Finally we encounter a giant manta ray at Richelieu Rock, also north of the Similan Islands in the Surin Islands National Park.
Manta rays are pelagic elasmobranchs, closely related to sharks. There are now known to be at least 2 distinct species of manta ray. This video features the largest species, the giant manta ray, Manta birostris, which is thought to travel great distances underwater.
The first giant manta ray at Koh Bon has 2 common remoras, Remora remora, attached to it’s head. The manta at Richelieu Rock has many smaller remoras (live sharksuckers), Echeneis naucrates, accompanying it. The remoras attach themselves to the manta ray and other large marine animals using their dorsal fin, which has evolved into a sucker. The remoras get a free ride, and they feed on the giant manta ray’s faeces.
Manta rays are threatened because of overfishing. The manta’s gill rakers are used in a so-called traditional Chinese medicine. As it has become popular in recent years, the manta ray population has fallen dramatically, and the IUCN have declared giant manta rays as “vulnerable with an elevated risk of extinction”.
The lovely music is “Are We Dreaming” by Solidtrax, who you can find here:
Part 27 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Crabs and shrimps at night.
Night diving offers the opportunity to see many crustaceans that are typically hidden in the reef during daylight, but are highly active under the hours of darkness. This video features 13 species.
At Koh Doc Mai, near Phuket in Thailand, and in the Similan Islands, we see banded coral shrimps (Stenopus hispidus) plucking plankton from the water to eat. Rock cleaner shrimp (Urocaridella sp.) are busy cleaning a large snapper and a fimbriated moray eel (Gymnothorax fimbriatus).
Space is at a premium on the reef. In the Mergui Archipelago in Burma (Myanmar) we see a fimbriated moray sharing its home with a variable coral crab (Carpilius convexus).
Female crabs carry their eggs under their apron for a few months while the embryos develop. We witness the dramatic sight of a spendid round crab (Etisus splendidus) releasing her brood. As she pumps her lower body, thousands of tiny larvae are released and drift away in the current.
At Thailand’s Boonsung wreck, a crucifix crab (Charybdis (Charybdis) feriata) tries to appear as large and intimidating as possible by spreading its claws, before escaping into the shelter of the wreck, while at Western Rocky Island we see a tiny bull crab (Naxioides taurus) crawling across a gorgonian sea fan.
The flat rock crab, Percnon planissimum, is a common sight in the Andaman Sea, as is the swimming crab, Charybdis sp., which we see defending its territory by fighting off a passing common decorator crab (Schizophrys aspera). This decorator crab has large claws and covers itself with other marine organisms such as stinging hydroids for camouflage and defence. The horrid elbow crab (Daldorfia horrida) becomes completely encrusted with growth, while the spider decorator crab (Camposcia retusa) covers itself with sponges which continue to grow while on the crab, and enable it to blend in with the reef. The sponge crab, Dromia dormia, carries a large spone with its rearmost legs. We see one fling itself off the edge of the reef in an attempt to escape our lights.
Hermit crabs live inside empty snail shells in order to protect their soft abdomen. We see white-spotted hermit crabs (Dardanus megistos) in a variety of different shells. Anemone hermit crabs (Dardanus pedunculatus) carry live sea anemones on its shell as an extra defence. At Honeymoon Bay we a pair of them, perhaps in a dispute over territory.
Part 26 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Night dive.
Night diving offers a different type of experience to the scuba diver, as a different array of marine critters venture out while others rest.
Cephalopods can be successful hunters by night. In Burma’s Mergui Archipelago we see a bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) feasting on an Indo-Pacific sergeant (Abudefduf vaigiensis) and a pharao cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis) feeding on a spinefoot.
Pretty moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) drift over Thailand’s Boonsung wreck. A great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) passes by the camera at Koh Doc Mai near Phuket. An orange cup coral’s pretty polyps are extended. Amongst a group of red lionfish on the Boonsung wreck, a goldband fusilier (Pterocaesio chrysozona), displaying its night coloration, is pounced on and swallowed whole by a a honeycomb moray (Gymnothorax favagineus).
Many reef fishes use the night time to sleep. We see a blackspotted puffer (Arothron nigropunctatus) and a spotted sharpnose (Canthigaster solandri) resting on the reef at Koh Tachai, north of the Similan Islands.
At night, parrotfish surround themselves in a scent-proof cocoon of secreted mucous to avoid detection by sharks. We see ember parrotfish (Scarus rubroviolaceus) and blue-barred parrotfish (Scarus ghobban) using this technique.
It’s very difficult for scuba divers to observe fishes at night without disturbing them. We encounter a scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus), moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus), humpback turretfish (Tetrosomus gibbosus), emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator), snake moray (Uropterygius sp.), blue triggerfish (Pseudobalistes fuscus) and ornate ghost pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus) all apparently disorientated or upset by the bright lights.
Part 23 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Polychate worms and sea cucumbers.
First we look at a feather duster worm, Sabellastarte sp., at Shark Cave in the Burma’s Mergui Archipelago, and a hard tube coco worm, Protula bispiralis, at Richelieu Rock, north of the Similan Islands in Thailand. These polychate worms are rooted statically to the reef and feed by filtering plankton from the water with their tentacles and passing it into the central mouth.
Colorful Christmas tree worms, Spirobranchus giganteus, are common at many dive sites throughout the Andaman Sea. They embed themselves into porous stony corals and are highly sensitive to disturbances. At the slightest sign of danger, the worm retracts into the coral and seals the opening.
Also seen in the Mergui Archipelago, the large burrowing sea cucumber, Neothyonidium magnum, a type of Echinoderm, is another filter feeder. It roots itself into the substrate and holds its outer tentacles in the current. When it has captured sufficient plankton the tentacles reach down toward the centre, allowing the smaller inner tentacles to scoop the food into the mouth.
The Graeffe’s sea cucumber, Pearsonothuria graeffei, is common at shallow depths in the Andaman Sea, for example at dive sites around Racha Yai. Its mouth contains 25 adhesive black tentacles which it uses to walk over the reef and to pick up food from the substrate.
The mouth of the amberfish sea cucumber, Thelenota anax, contains 18 tentacles and is underneath the body. After digesting what it can from the material it has ingested from the seabed, the waste products are expelled at the anus. The sea cucumber also breathes through the anus by sucking water in and out.
Part 22 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Remoras, cobias and rainbow runners.
In this video we look at more fish that form symbiotic relationships with larger marine life.
Live sharksuckers (Echeneis naucrates), a type of remora, attach themselves to sharks and other marine animals using their first dorsal fin which has evolved into a sucker. The sharksucker gets a free ride and feeds off food scraps left by the host, which also gives it protection. This is known as a commensal relationship, whereby the suckerfish benefits but the host derives neither significant benefit nor harm. Some scientists believe that the remora removes parasites etc. from the host, making the relationship a form of mutualism rather than commensalism. At various dive sites in Thailand and the Mergui Archipelago of Burma (Myanmar) we see live sharksuckers attached to zebra sharks, a whale shark, a spot-fin porcupinefish, a bridled parrotfish, and even a couple of scuba divers.
In another example of commensal symbiosis, the cobia (Rachycentron canadum) is similarly usually found accompanying larger marine animals. We see them following manta rays, blotched fantail rays, and a grey reef shark. The cobia gains some protection from the larger host, and often feeds on its faeces.
Rainbow runners (Elagatis bipinnulata), members of the jack family, are also often seen accompanying larger marine life, but for a different reason. They rub themselves against the skin of the host in order to remove parasites etc. from their own bodies. We see rainbow runners rubbing against a grey reef shark, a whitetip reef shark, and a hawksbill turtle.
Part 21 of my weekly series, “Reef Life of the Andaman”. Shrimps and symbiotic cleaners.
In this video we look at how different types of shrimp feed, and how some shrimp and fish clean a host fish in a mutually-beneficial symbiotic relationship.
First we see a pair of harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta, feeding on a velvety sea star, Leiaster speciosus, at Koh Ha in Thailand’s southern islands. The small shrimps feed exclusively on starfish.
We then encounter a peacock mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus scyllarus, attempting to smash an oyster with its claws which have evolved into powerful clubs.
Skunk cleaner shrimps, Lysmata amboinensis, form mutual symbiotic relationships with marine creatures such as giant morays. The shrimps clean the larger host so the so the shrimp keeps itself fed while the host keeps itself clean and healthy. We even see a skunk cleaner shrimp cleaning a scuba diver’s teeth!
Cleaner wrasse perform a similar role. We see bluestreak cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, cleaning the mouths of variable-lined fusiliers, Caesio varilineata, at Koh Bon and Koh Tachai, and cleaning inside the gill of a starry puffer, Arothron stellatus, at Staghorn Reef on Racha Yai island. We also see bicolor cleaner wrasse, Labroides bicolor, cleaning a teira batfish, a yellowspotted trevally and a giant moray eel.
Finally we examine how the cleaner’s attentions are not always welcome. A honeycomb moray, Gymnothorax favagenius, is irritated by a rock cleaner shrimp, and a blackspotted puffer, Arothron nigropunctatus, is annoyed by cleaner wrasse. One even bites a pharaoh cuttlefish, Sepia pharaonis. It could be that these fish are false cleanerfish, Aspidontus taeniatus, a sabre-toothed blenny which has evolved to mimic the bluestreak cleaner wrasse, but actually feeds off the flesh of its hosts.