Ornate ghost fish. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010)
Ornate ghost fish. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010)

The little people of the reef

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010

In Indonesia, the word "biodiversity" makes sense. Here in the Sea of Celebes, the underwater world teems with bizarre and fascinating creatures, often tiny.

The beautiful reefs of Bangka Island

Since I take pictures underwater, I love these little beasts that populate the tropical reefs. At each dive, I marvel. Like a kid, never tired.

The reefs of North Sulawesi are worth the detour. Compared to the island of Bunaken, where I was three years ago, the sites of Bangka, a little further north, are interesting because they allow to mix different types of diving:
→ the "muck-dive" on a sandy bottom, where coral and seaweed debris, holes and bumps are closely scrutinized to find the creatures that hide themselves there;
→ the classic ride along the drop offs, rich in groves of colorful soft corals and schools of spinning fish.

A lionfish scares me out of the corner of my eye ... (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Soft corals. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

I decided not to return to Bunaken this year. The place begins to become a little too well known and frequented. The resorts have developed on the island and it seems that we meet more divers and apprentice divers than fish under water ...

Bangka is definitely more peaceful, and especially its funds are better preserved. And at Murex, there are great guides, to the eyes of lynx under water ...

Walk along the reef. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Here are the little people of the reef, crossed around the Bangka. Just click once on an image: it will open wide, with its legend, and you can then navigate from one photo to another, with the arrow keys ... Good ride!


They are known colloquially as frogfish or toads, because of the English name "frog-fish". It suits them well. The family to which they belong is that of the antennæ. I love them very much, those shapeless fish that can scarcely swim and look like nothing, except the sponges on which they like to hide.

I did not take the time to go through the books of identification to find the little name of each, but my favorite remains the little fish-toad said "clown" (3rd picture below). Not very cooperative, he remained clinging to his coral tip without deigning to present his best profile. Unpublished, for me, the bottom one, with its small orange spots: a tiny fish, which I had never met before.

Toadfish or antennae. Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish. (Bangka, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Toadfish or antennae. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Toadfish or antennae. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Small cuttlefish and mini octopus

All these creatures change in appearance and color, when they feel threatened or seek to be confused with the environment. The effect is always striking.

The astonishing little flamboyant cuttlefish (photo 2) is bristling with pustules and seems to be covered with waves of fire. We would spend hours admiring the infinite variations of her dress, which gives the impression of constantly waving.

Cuttlefish. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Flaming cuttlefish. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Small octopus (hairy octopus) ... Nicknamed Harry Potter by my Indonesian guide! (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Small cuttlefish. (Bangka Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Seahorses and cousins

Ah! It seems far, my very first meeting with the tiny pygmy seahorse, smaller than the nail of my little finger. And what progress, since this first picture of 2008 not very clear, and the following

Small sea horses, and their cousins the "ghost-pipe fishes", especially the "ornated ghost-pipe fishes" are a pleasure of macro photography.

A seahorse-pygmy hung on its gorgonian branch. (Bangka, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Another species of pygmy hippocampus. (Bangka, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)

Ornate ghost fish. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010)
Ornate ghost fish. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010)

Bouquet of nudibranchs

Nudibranchs? A girl thing, it seems. Helena, Valérie, Malene are like me They love these small sea slugs, which can take on endless shapes and colors.

Here is a small bouquet harvested in the waters of Bangka. And I'm counting on Anthonywho is not a girl but who loves nudis too much, to give us their little scientific name ... ;-)

Nudibranch. (Bangka, Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 2010.)


  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010