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LEMBEH STRAIT BITUNG, NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA

A wonderland of the bizarre and unusual. Few places in the world have earned the same level of interest for divers and underwater photographers as that of the Lembeh Strait, a narrow passage of water just 16 kilometers long and an average of a mere 1 kilometer wide. The strait runs between the main island of North Sulawesi and the tiny island of Lembeh.

Among the many reasons to visit Lembeh, most photographers come to see the wide range of frogfish, cephalopods and the smallest of the small critters that find protection in and among the sparse features of the primarily sandy bottom that exist in the Lembeh Strait.

Clockwise from top: The Hairy Octopus, considered the holy grail of Lembeh cephalopods. A black juvenile frogfish sits exposed on the sand waiting patiently for its next meal to swim within range. The Sea Pen crab (Porcellanella triloba) found seeking shelter among the stem of a sea pen.
Hairy Frogfish (Antennarius striatus) with its lure extended

The blue-ringed octopus, a tiny but highly venomous cephalopod found in a wide range of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This beautiful animal contains enough tetrodotoxin, a bacteria in the octopus' salivary glands, to kill over twenty adult humans within minutes.

A successful hunt: a small crab becomes a meal for this blue-ringed octopus

Perhaps the most diverse subject in Lembeh are nudibranchs. These soft bodied marine gastropod molluscs are found in every color of the rainbow and range in size from 1 to over 500 mm in length. There are over 3000 known species and new additions are added every year as more of our underwater world is explored.

Solar powered nudibranch: the Phyllodesmium longicirrum

Lembeh is home to a countless variety of crustacean, from the miniscule hairy shrimp, to the porcelain crab, to the squat lobster and everything in between.

Hairy Shrimp with eggs (Phycocaris simulans) measuring a only a few millimeters in size

Coconut Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus)
Another Lembeh highlight is the Wunderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus)

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