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Wakatobi Trip Reports

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 sightings.


Trip Report - Anemonefish
Report from Wakatobi Dive Centre

Who is Nemo? Which "Nemo" is that?

A subfamily of Damselfishes, Anemonefishes have developed the ability to live inside an anemones stinging tentacles.

Pink Anemonefish - James Watt

However, not every Anemonefish is a clownfish like Nemo. At Wakatobi there are 9 different species of Anemonefish and during the last few trips, guests managed to identify them all!

Clown Anemonefish - Ken Knezick

False Clown Anemonefish - Carlos Villoch


Anemonefish have very interesting and defined habits, they live in groups, with a hierarchy of one large dominant female and one or more smaller males. Sequential hermaphrodites, if the female dies, the largest, most dominant male begins to act like female and develops fully functioning ovaries. At the same time, the second-largest male becomes sexually mature and takes over as the dominant male.

Spinecheek Anemonefish - Carlos Villoch

Egg laying:

Anemonefish eggs - Eric Cheng

False Clown Anemonefish - Ken Knezick

The male Anemonefish selects and prepares a nest site, on which the female lays 100-1000 eggs. The male vigorously defends the nest and eggs. Tiny transparent larvae hatch after six or seven days. If they survive the next 8-12 days, they settle on the sea bottom, assume the juvenile color pattern and begin to search for a suitable anemone home.

If their new home is already occupied, the juvenile anemonefish must take its place at the bottom of the pecking order. It's not easy for them to find a new home.

Clark's Anemonefish - Doug Richardson

Spinecheek Anemonefish juveniles and males are bright red, or red-orange with brilliant white bars, while the females are a deeper red or red-brown with grayish bars. The females are often over three times the size of their male partner!

Spinecheek Anemonefish - Dour Richardson

Spinecheek Anemonefish - Eric Cheng

More about anemonefishes

Trip Report - (March 2011)
Report from Wakatobi Dive Centre

One of the most remarkable and fascinating animals on earth is the mantis shrimp.

Ken Kenezick photo

Found regularly on many of the dive sites in Wakatobi, Mantis Shrimp or Stomatopods are ferocious predatory crustaceans. There are over 400 species, divided in 2 main groups: the 'spearers' and the 'smashers'. Depending on species, they either spear, stun or dismember their prey.

Eric Cheng photo

Richard Smith Photo

Mantis Shrimp are very sensitive to environmental pollutants, so their abundant presence in Wakatobi is a good bio-indicator and important barometer of healthy reefs.

Richard Smith photo

It is the mantis shrimp's incredible eyes, which make him such a ferocious, successful hunter. In the dive site Zoo, a Spearing Mantis Shrimp often sits outside her burrow, watching us with her amazingly sophisticated visual system. Moving her eyes independently of each other, each eye can actually rotate up to 360°!

Eric Cheng photo

The mantis shrimp's eye contains up to 16 different types of photoreceptors, 12 of them alone for color analysis. (In comparison, we humans have only 3 colour channels!). Mantis shrimp can also see polarized light and 4 colors of U.V. They see and display in UV and use polarization for communication and their visual system is the most sophisticated vision on earth! Scientists say we humans simply cannot even imagine the world that this shrimp can see.

Saskia Van Wijk photo

Each of the mantis shrimp's eyes is made of 3 different parts. And each part is equipped with a pseudo-pupil, which enables the shrimp to see three images of a prey at the same time, giving him trinocular vision and outstanding depth perception, for each eye. Comparatively we need both our eyes together just to achieve binocular vision!

Richard Smith photo

The Peacock Mantis Shrimp is a 'smasher'. One was walking around, dancing in front of the camera lens, when suddenly, she deployed her raptorial appendage to capture a crab. Using her calcified "club", she broke his carapace, before dragging the rest of the crab into her burrow for leisurely consumption! It all happened so fast, that the shot was missed, as all stayed mesmerized looking at each other.

Eric Cheng photo

The Peacock Mantis is said to be capable of instantly exerting forces equal to a 22caliber bullet in the space of few milliseconds! Incredible for an animal of only about 20cm in length!

Ken Kenezick photo

To complete the 'Mantis Shrimp' trio, 2 guests decided to enjoy the amazing experience of our magical fluo-diving and were contemplating the beauty of glowing corals at "Zoo", when, sticking out of the sand, was an orange spearing mantis shrimp! She had 2 bright fluorescing spots. Proven in a mantis shrimp to be used as part of their extensive communication system and documented by Wakatobi's resident filmmakers being used as part of their threat display, the shrimp was essentially using fluorescence to be "brighter than bright".

Asti Livingston photo

Dr. Charles Mazel Ph.D. & leading Fluorescence Research Scientist & inventor of fluo-technology: "The odds of you going in the water and finding something, seeing some animal fluorescing, that no-one else in the entire history of the universe has ever seen is probably over ninety percent! Anywhere in the world... Simply because so few people have done this".

A tiny transparent shrimp shows off her fabulous fluorescent markings.
Liquid Motion Film photo

White light and fluorescence... Yet still so little is understood.

Liquid Motion Film photo

"We find 2 corals, side by side, both look healthy, they're growing in the same environment, they're seeing the same light, the same water flow, the same nutrients, and one will be brightly fluorescent and the other will be non fluorescent" - states one of the worlds leading Scientists. "Or one will be fluorescent one colour and the other will be fluorescent a different colour.".

Essa Al Ghuraih photo

Fluo Diving is a totally AMAZING experience!!! The colours were dazzling - the corals came alive in a true 'psychedelic' array of shapes and colour. Anyone who comes to Wakatobi should try this! Wakatobi guest Norm Vexler, October 2010

Liquid Motion Film photo

During the day, the Banded Coral Shrimp is often busy, cleaning. At night, she feeds on zooplankton. Invisible in the daylight, her mandibles and a small dot at the end of each claw and pincers are brightly fluorescing!

Whether in daylight, or in fluorescence, the myriad Shrimps and the Mantis Shrimps in Wakatobi are colourful, picturesque regulars on the reef - and a true photographers delight.


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