When Tomini Bay receives heavy rains, especially from the southwest, humidity clears. This allows people in Gorontalo to see all the way across the huge bay to Central Sulawesi. Rains in early May gave us in eastern Gorontalo a clear look at the islands north of Pagaimana. From western Gorontalo, like the locations of Miguel�s Diving�s recent Coral Preservation Campaign, the Togian (Togean) Islands are visible in similar conditions.
The newest edition of Indonesian Reef Fishes (Kuiter & Tonozuka 2004) includes an undescribed specie of dottyback. The Togean dottyback (Pseudochromis sp.) is thought to be confined to Tomini Bay, Sulawesi, making it endemic to these waters. Rudie Kuiter first noticed this fish during an expedition to the Togian (Togean) Islands in 1994. Photographed in Gorontalo in 2003 by Italian marine biologist Massimo Boyer, this new fish differs from its closest cousin, the Slender dottyback (P. bitaeniatus). Its distinctive features include:
- a white line/fleck in the middle of its tail, and
- a maroon half-moon underneath its eye.
Also, the eye socket appears to have blue edging and the darker band looks deep blue underwater. We have seen this fish at several of our dive sites but only in areas of dense coral growth, such as Gorontalo’s Honeycomb dive site where these pictures were taken. We consistently find it at about five meters depth. A shy fish, it likes to hide in coral crevasses with entrances on two sides, so as to make a hasty retreat.
Tomini Bay is already considered one of Indonesia’s areas of local endemism with six official species of fish considered to live only in these waters (Allen & Adrim 2003). Gorontalo forms its north shores.