• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Monthly Archives: November 2009

New Species Found in Gorontalo

Emperor Akihito goby WTMiguel’s Diving staff have discovered a striking new species of fantail goby. Named after the Japanese emperor in 2005 by Allen & Randall, the Akihito goby (Exyrias akihito) sports a dorsal fin with three majestic fin rays and a row of double brown spots on its side. Unlike the other three species of fantail gobies, it is found in clear waters around coral reefs rather than the mud bottoms preferred by the others. Its 10-centimeter length makes it quite large for a goby. All specimens for the scientific study were captured at depths below 40 meters and donated by Emperor Akihito. However, the ones available in Gorontalo live at a comfortable 15 meters. Thanks to William Tan for the first pictures! To see a larger version of William’s photo complete with impressive dorsal ray, please click the thumbnail.

 

Violence on the Reef

The pristine reefs of Gorontalo have shocked recent divers with reality. On the massive pinnacle we call Sunken Island divers saw the remaining half of a cushion star – and the mature trumpet shell that had just eaten half of it!

On another section of reef a coconut shell octopus disproved the notion that anemones protect decorator hermit crabs that hide under their stinging fingers. Divers watched the quick work the octopus made of one crab by carefully turning the crab shell so as to avoid the anemones and then with two other arms simply rip the helpless crab out and gobble it down!

Imagine hearing the scream of our dive master. He was watching a large and unusual sea hare nudibranch lumber over the sand when suddenly the head of a large bobbitt worm lunged out of the sand, its four jaws spread wide open, grabbed the nudi and began dragging it under the sand.

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