Thursday, March 6, 2008

Nudi's in Bali

I managed to get in 16 dives during the 5 days we spent in Tulamben, Bali, and Kelli got in 5 dives. I was really proud of her, she did great and had a blast. She was even busy taking her own underwater pictures. I got my old Canon IXY 800 working for her most of the time. I think that taking pictures made her a lot more aware of things down there and had her looking at things differently. Of course I was on the hunt for nudibranchs, and I managed to come up with quite a few new ones for me. The one in the top picture is a Nembrotha cristata, and seems to be fairly common on the Liberty shipwreck in Tulamben. I would highly recommend that dive for anyone, it's a very easy dive and there is enough to see there to take several dives to take it all in.
No matter where I dove along the coast in Tulamben, I was primarily looking for nudibranchs, and I wasn't disappointed. I did have to look pretty hard to come up with the ones that I found, but it certainly expanded my nudibranch library. The one in the above photo is listed as a Phyllidia sp. by the experts at http://www.nudipixel.net/, which means it's in the Phyllidia family or species, but they aren't really sure which particular one it might be. I'm never sure how to tell that family apart either, so I don't feel too bad when they also have a hard time identifying them for sure.
These two nudibranchs are Nembrotha nigerrima, and I know this will come as a huge surprise, I caught them mating! Yup, evidently I even inspire nudi sex in Bali, who would have ever guessed it? These colorful nudibranchs seemed to like to hang out in certain areas on the wreck, and I'd find them in the same general area day after day. I never did get tired of taking pictures of them.
Erwin Kodiat and his experts at nudipixel.net identified this one as a Phyllidia elegans for me. So many of them look so similar, but I just take plenty of pictures of everything and then just submit them all to nudipixel and let them sort it all out. It's great having a resource like that available.
Erwin identifies this one as a Phidiana indica. It was less than an inch long and very, very skinny. I saw them all over the rocks and rubble near the fishing boat beach. There wasn't much coral around at all, but if you looked very closely, you'd see these little guys on the rocks.
I was really excited when I found this nudibranch, although he was so small, slightly over a quarter inch long that I had no idea that he looked like this when I took the picture. I could just barely see some movement so I knew it had to be a nudibranch and I started snapping away, waiting until I could blow the pictures up later and see what it really looked like. This is a Hypselodoris infuctata.
I was really excited when I found this guy, it was toward the end of my 5 days of diving in Tulamben. It was the only one I found like it and I could see it well enough to know that I had something pretty unique. According to Erwin at nudipixel, this is a Jorunna rubescens.
This guy is also a Phyllidia sp. One of these days maybe I'll be smart enough to figure out all the little differences between some of these guys so that I can tell them apart, but I'm far from that right now.
I didn't see any of these on the shipwreck, but found several of them on rocks on the other side of the point, and in the sand and rubble coming back from the Coral Garden. This is a Phyllidia ocellata, a very pretty and easily identifiable nudibranch.
Much to my surprise, Erwin also identified this one as a Phyllidia elegans. I didn't think it looked quite like the other one, but then again, I don't really know what I'm looking at, so we'll just trust the experts. This is probably the most common nudibranch you see scattered throughout all the rocks and coral. This is a Phyllidiella pustulosa. The purplish and white pustules actually look green underwater, but the light brings out their true colors.
Erwin has also identified this guy as a Phyllidia elegans, you see the wide variety in the same species and see why I have such a hard time identifying them?

And then there is this one, that doesn't look that much different from the Phyllidia sp. or the Phyllidia elegans for that matter, but it's neither. According to Erwin this is a Phyllidia picta. If he says so, I can't tell the difference personally.
And to me this looks a lot like the Phyllidia elegans a couple of pictures above, but it's not. According to Erwin, this is a Phyllidia coelestis, to my knowledge the first time I have ever seen one of these.
I think this is the one I was the most excited about seeing though. He was probably a good 3 inches long and moving quickly across the sand. He was big enough that I could make out a lot of his detail with my naked eye, and he was just beautiful. This is a Glossodoris cincta, and again, it was the only one of them I saw the whole time.
This little guy was less than a half inch long and I really couldn't see much detail on him at all when I took the pictures, I could only see that it was moving on a rock, and knew that it was therefore probably a nudibranch, so I snapped away. According to Erwin, this is a Chromodoris fidelis, a very pretty little guy.
I've seen nudibranchs similar to this one in Saipan, but as in horseshoes and hand grenades, close doesn't count in nudibranchs either, so you always take pictures of everything and sort it all out later. Erwin has identified this guy as a Phyllidiella lizae, not anything I had in my collection before now.
I thought this one looked vaguely familiar as I was taking its picture, it's a Jorunna funebris, and I have seen one once before on Saipan.
And this last guy seemed to be much different than all the rest. Then again most of them are pretty unique. This is a Pearsonothuria graeffei, another one that I had seen one time before in the Grotto in Saipan, but this one was much bigger. Needless to say I had a great time hunting nudibranchs in Bali, and as you can see, it was very successful. Hope you enjoyed the colorful critters.