We are full on in the High Season at Lembeh Strait and Critters are all over the place. So it is pretty much good to shoot anything you like right now. Small Frogfish, rare Octopus, special shrimps … it’s all there. One of my personal favourites are weird nudibranchs. And amongst the weirdest of them are the Melibes. We not only see many of them this year, but also many different species.
Melibes all have a Oral Hood which they spread out over the sand or other substrate and pull back like a fishing net to feed. Little crustaceans and other food trapped within is then moved to the oral opening. They do not have a jaw, so their prey is consumed in one piece. The body of Melibe Nudibranchs further of pairs of big cerata that stand out to both sides of the body. These animals are typically very well camouflaged – pointed out by a dive guide, divers often only recognize them once they move.
In Lembeh Strait we see different species of this fantastic Nudibranch family … Amongst them are the Engel’s Melibe (M. engeli), the Fimbriate Melibe (M. fimbriata), the Big-Branched Melibe (M. megaceras), the Wonderous Melibe (M. mirifica, often seen swimming when disturbed) and the Green Melibe (M. viridis). And last but not least the Holy Grail of Nudibranchs, the Coleman’s or Ghost Melibe (Melibe colemani). This very special nudibranch has only been seen in Lembeh Strait since a very short time and was first discovered in this area in 2014 – by NAD Lembeh Dive Guides.