Keep the Wakatobi experience alive after you return home or build excitement for your
upcoming adventure. Visit this page for regular reports from Wakatobi dive staff on recent marine life
Report by Richard Smith (September 2009, Trip 27 & 28)
I am well and truly settled into the swing of diving life here at Wakatobi Dive Resort, although there have been
quite a few changes since I was here last. There are many more guides than during my previous stays, as the
resort now offers private guiding. This allows divers to have their very own guide should they choose this
service. The weather has been great lately and the windy season passed very quickly this year.
Recently we have been inundated with ghost pipefishes of several species. The Halimeda species has been spotted at
three sites, a pair of Robust at a site called The Zoo, and the generally uncommon Ornate ghost pipefish has been
seen at many sites over the last few weeks. Unlike other pipefish in which the male broods the eggs and young it
is the female ghost pipefish that is in charge of the offspring. She broods the eggs between enlarged pectoral
fins located under the body, which can also be used to sex these species.
Halimeda ghost pipefish (green variation)
Halimeda ghost pipefish (white variation)
Robust ghost pipefish
Ornate ghost pipefish
I went to a site called the Zoo and was approached by a black-tip reef shark several times before it went about
its day. The week ahead holds more of my pygmy seahorse behavioural observations, and I hope to spend a little
time at the dive sites Roma and Table Coral City (with spawning tube sponges and schools of fish), which people
are raving about at the moment!
Rare yellow variation Pygmy seahorse
Pyjama cardinal fish
Report by Lorenz (August 2009, Trip 26)
During this seven days trip our guests on Pelagian saw Sperm whales at Buton island! They were between 10 - 15 m long.
Sperm whales are generally easy to distinguish from other large whales at sea, even at a great distance. The images
show the characteristic small rounded dorsal humps and wrinkled body surface. The fluke is broad and triangular with
a nearly straight trailing edge, rounded tips, and a deep notch. In the short clip you can as well observe the
uniquely angled bushy blow to the left, caused by the single S-shaped blowhole at the left front of the head.
Sperm Whale Illustration
All photos by Sherry Tryssenaar. Video by Wakatobi staff.
'Pygmy-Richard' Smith is back in Wakatobi Resort for his studies.
Here his first Trip report:
After one year away from the reefs here at Wakatobi I am back again to conduct more of my fieldwork on the pygmy
seahorses in the area. The reefs have some of the highest abundance and diversity of species that I have seen, so
Wakatobi Resort is the perfect place to observe behaviours and elucidate their ecology. Since I was last here, the
two species of free-living pygmies that live on the reefs have officially been given scientific names. The white
pygmy seahorse that is often found living in and around patches of Halimeda algae is now called Hippocampus pontohi,
and the much less common brown pygmy with patches of orange and red is known as H. severnsi. Also common are the
two species that are the focus of my study, H. bargibanti and H. denise. Both are obligate gorgonian-associated
species, which basically means they live on gorgonian fan corals and are not found elsewhere on the reef. Both
of these species are commonly found on the House Reef and many of the other dive sites around the resort. I was
searching the House Reef for a suitable group of H. denise to observe the social and reproductive behaviours.
I have been very lucky in finding a group of four on a gorgonian coral, where I spent 45 hours observing a group
two years ago. It will be very interesting to see what goes on socially in this case. My plan for the coming trip
is to continue with my observations of this group as well as getting out to some of the other sites to observe
the pygmies there. I will look forward to seeing how the other sites have changed over the past year and
seeing whether some of the residents are still present 12 months on.
All photos by Richard Smith
Richard Smith Blog
Report by Britta (May 2009 Trip 15)
It was only a seven days trip, but it was an extraordinary one! Most of the time, I tell you about all
the little creatures we spotted during a trip. Besides that, I almost forget about the great scenery,
the pristine reefs and the amazing atmosphere - which makes Wakatobi so special for all of us too!
We were pleased to have Aaron Wong from Singapore with us on this trip, who took some incredible shots,
as you can see below. Thank you Aaron for your slide show!
Furthermore, there are of course interesting stories about critters and creatures: At our beautiful House
Reef we found a Yellow spotted Pipefish (Corythoichthys polynotatus). This species belongs to the same
scientific family as seahorses (family Syngnathidae). They are similar in appearance to seahorses, with
small fins, rigid bodies, and rough skin texture. Typically found foraging near the bottom around sheltered
reefs among coral rubble, weed or seagrass, pipefish are long and slender like a sea snake, though
comparatively small. Like common seahorses, pipefish are ovoviviparous (young pipefish develops within eggs
that remain within the father's body up until they hatch or are about to hatch) and the male carries the eggs
in a brood pouch which is found under the tail.
Looking forward to see all of you soon, thank you for the great time!
See all of Aaron's Photos in a Slide Show - CLICK HERE!
Report by Britta (May 2009 Trip 13)
Xenon Crab - Xenocarcinus tuberculatus
Porcelain Crab - Neopetrolisthes oshimai
The weather was simply perfect, and it was impossible to get bored diving at Wakatobi this week! At Teluk Maya, a
Broadclub Cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) was laying eggs right in front of us. The eggs of this cuttlefish are white
and perfectly rounded, just like ping pong balls. The soon we thought we had enough excitement for one dive site,
a black Giant Frogfish (Antennarius commersoni) caught the eye of one of our expert guides. Hanging out his antenna
for possible prey, he seemed almost invisible amongst the sponges and corals. Just one day later a Manta Ray
(Manta birostris) with a size of approximately 4m "flew" by at Turkey Beach!
Then, along came Pockets... and the parade of the camouflaged snails. These ovulid snails are almost perfect in
their adaption of texture and colour to various Fans and Soft Corals. The two cowries which can be found on whip
corals, Aclyvolva sp. and Phenacovolva sp., are able to retract their "polyps" into their skeleton - so does the
cryptic cowrie Prosimnia semperi, that was practically indistinguishable from the corals. These rare and gorgeous
sightings built the fulminate finish of another great trip. Come and see the wonders of Wakatobi :
All Photos below by Wakatobi guest Sacha Brown www.brownbeard.com
Allied Cowrie - Primovula sp.
Leaf Scorpionfish - Taenianotus triacanthus
Halimeda Ghostpipefish - Solenostomus halimeda
Organ Utan Crab - Achaeus japonicus
Winged Pipefish - Halicampus mactorhynchus
Recent Marine News |
Marine News Archive |
Marinelife Videos |
Marinelife Feature Articles |
Fish List |