A couple of weeks ago the title for being the ugliest animal in the world was awarded by the British science festival. Top contenders were the proboscis monkey, lice, the nowadays famous blobfish and a frog from lake Titicaca with the catching name the scrotum frog (it is, I promise! No, I did not make it up, it really does!). The winner was the blobfish, which might be Ok for being the ugliest animal outside Lembeh, but in Lembeh the blobfish surely would stand a slim chance of even reaching the podium.
My three top Lembeh entrants to such a contest are kind of hard to pick out given the amount of ugliness in the strait. First entrant would be any of the demon stingers. Something very ugly would have to be in a really bad hair day to compete with the amazingly weird face of one of these ghouls. Not only are they ugly, they have a nasty temper and a pretty vicious sting as well.
Second would be the Cymothoa isopod sucking blood from fish gills, or in the case of anemone fish, firmly attaching itself to the tongue of the fish and sitting there and performing for science unknown activities. Maybe not all that ugly as the stingers, but the isopods feet are really sharp and will probably more or less penetrate the tongue of the affected anemonefish which very clearly dislikes the inhabitant of its tongue.
Finally, a case could be made for third place going to the stargazers. Ugly as can be, they also are deceiving (wormlike lures attach small unsuspecting fish to the mouth of the stargazer), electric (modified muscles can give of quite a jolt) and venomous (each gill cover has a venomous spine). But, obviously, on a global level a Lembeh list could probably easily fill the first ten spaces in such a contest, so to all of the ugly critters not mentioned here, I apologize.
But seriously, why does a bunch of dry scientist even bother with such a contest. It actually has a reason. Cuddly, beautiful and large animals have many followers that will do quite a lot for the conservation of their focal animal. It is by no means just by chance that WWW chose a panda as their symbol and not a spider. However, ugly animals obviously requires conservation just as much as the beautiful, furry and huggable ones. So, people, share a thought or a dime for the conservation of Lembeh freaks, ugly monkeys and scrotum frogs. They need you!