Toadfish (antennal). Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.
Toadfish (antennal). Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

The mini-monsters of Lembeh

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Here they are at last! The little monsters of the Lembeh Strait... Open your eyes wide: these strange creatures are gifted in camouflage. A treasure of underwater biodiversity, which attracts here, in the north of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, divers from all over the world.

The Toadfish of Lembeh

To find these creatures, nothing is better than the eye of the local guide-divers. Specialists of the "muck-dive" (these observation dives at the bottom of the substrate where sand, sediments, coral debris and waste are mixed), they know perfectly the sites and the favorite hideouts of all the miniature monsters, which play hide and seek on the bottom.

I would never have found this little toadfish without Nofry-Ungke, guide at Other Lembeh Lodge. That's his finger, right there, next to the bug.

Toadfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish (antennal). Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

I love toad fish or frog fish (referred to as frog-fish in English, they are also called antennal in French). Fish that look like nothing and can barely swim.

Their fins are almost like legs and they move awkwardly, with a clumsy walk, on the bottom. They are often perched on sponges of the same color as themselves.

To feed, they wait for a prey to pass by and gobble it up. They have a lure on their forehead, a kind of mini fishing rod, which they shake to attract their future meal within reach of their mouth...

Toadfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish (antennal). Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish (antennal). Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish. Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Toadfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

But the most sought after, the most appreciated, the most photographed of all the toadfish of Lembeh, is the hairy frog-fish. In other words, the "hairy" model.

An adorable mini-monster, met several times, who deigned to pose for me ...

Toadfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Hairy frog-fish. Lembeh, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.


The Lembeh Monsters Gallery

I let you discover below my small selection of beautiful monsters... I brought back more than a thousand underwater pictures from these five days of diving in the Lembeh Strait!

And I was particularly spoiled: among the rarities encountered, the blue-ringed octopus, the little blue ring octopuselusive and poisonous; a few small pegasus and others Rhinopias... connoisseurs will appreciate.

Nature has created and gathered here, under the surface, hallucinating creatures (the famous critters so much praised in the English brochures and sites about Lembeh)!

Lionfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Octopus with blue rings. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Lionfish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Dragonet. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Baby cuttlefish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Shrimp tiger. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Pegasus. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Flaming cuttlefish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Rhinopias. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Mimic octopus. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Sole. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

Stonefish. Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia. July 2010.

I stop here. Because I also have some nice nudibranchs and some cute seahorses to show you... That will be in a future post!


For those who love underwater oddities... I went several times to Lembeh to dive, during my stays in Indonesia. To find all the posts of the blog, on this dive spot like no other, follow this link  → All articles on Lembeh

  Indonesia: Sulawesi - July 2010

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  1. Until recently, I didn't know that these creatures existed. It was a friend who made me discover these little monsters. The toadfish are amazing.
    In the area, we are still discovering new species regularly ❓

  2. Simply fabulous, and even if we know, we do not get tired of it. We can't wait to go back, come on, a few more months to wait, in the meantime, we look at the pictures of the others, the ones we took last year and "the" video on Lembeh (wink...) 😉
    See you soon…

  3. I love your 3rd photo of the toadfish, it looks like he's ready to make a leap from the top of his sponge!
    😀 What ❗ you have a lot of nudibranchs pictures and you hide them!!!!
    It's not fair 😥
    Well, we'll try to be patient, but it's hard... 😛

  4. Lembeh State of Mind!
    Like Laurence, I especially like the frogfish in the 3rd photo, as if clinging to its sponge with its fin/foot/hand...
    But I seem to recognize the hairy frogfish (the 1st one), isn't it my friend from Jahir's site??? 🙄
    Anyway thank you for these photos and this post which, once again 😈 , make me want to go back very quickly to meet the amazing funds of Lembeh!

    And of course I'm looking forward to your nudibranches 😉

  5. @Nathan: Yes, it is a friend we have in common, isn't it 😉 New species are indeed regularly discovered in these waters of the Celebes Sea.

    @Pac': Merki! 😀

    @isa (etmarco): I was even able to watch the famous video again... It is on DVD at Divers Lodge !!!

    @Laurence: Yes, I'm dragging out the suspense on purpose (actually, no, it's just that I don't have as much time as I'd like to take care of my photos and the blog... patience, it happens!!!).

    @ Malene: You recognized him well, it's him, your hairy buddy from Jahir!!! 😆 Really too strong, Malene!!! Ah, I must admit that I too would go back there now... The nudis are coming soon!

    @Manta: How? You too, are you going there? That's it !!!
    😆 😀

  6. We have so much to discover under the sea ... the species are so varied and surprising in this corner of the globe!
    You made us wait since the 18/07, but we are rewarded by your very funny frogfish pictures. The one with pink pustules (a bit like the pygmee seahorse) is very amazing. I love the little "blue ring" octopus (we know its size thanks to the fingers) and the black striped one.
    I guess you came back from vacation so welcome back to earth ... waiting for your selection of nudis and seahorses.

  7. Congratulations for the photos!
    For my part, I could not really enjoy Pulau Weh, after a dive, I had a motorcycle accident. Injured foot=no dive. You can imagine my disappointment! Just enough time to see a family of marble rays argh!
    Have a good day!

  8. I see you've switched to reflex with flying colors. 😀
    I can't believe you saw the "hairy toad" and the "blue-ringed octopus" 🙄
    Me in 17 dives, I couldn't find them 😡
    "It's really too inzust", as a famous chick would say

  9. Hello
    I discover this site today, and I remember the dives on Lembech, really surprising and different from what we are used to see
    This area is great for divers, both in Bunaken and in Lembech
    I remember seeing a "crab as red as an electric lamp".
    I will not know his name, but breathtaking
    And the magnificent hippocantants of all kinds

    Do not miss some manatees on Bunaken


  10. Hi Corinne!

    Your blog and your dives have often inspired me since I have known your "address". You are responsible, in part, for my greater desire to dive 😉

    By the way, I finally put my blog online. Well, still a lot of work on the visual side, yours is top class in that area!

    Good day to you!

  11. @Lisemet: Sorry, I keep making you pine... But I'm getting back to work very quickly: I promise a post within a day or two!!!

    @Alimata: This is my favorite chick. Thank you for the kind "with flair"... I am very flattered.

    @ Cricri466: Yes, Lembeh is really a unique site, exceptional. Your crab, it's probably one of those crabs carrying an urchin with electric red colors on their back... I must have a picture somewhere, I'll try to find it.

    @Fabrice: Oh, that's bad luck... Fortunately, you're doing pretty well, if I believe what you say on your blog (very nice, I feel like I'll go there regularly...). Too bad, then, for the diving, but like that, you'll have to go back to Pulau Weh... hey, hey!!! Rule n°1 on Indonesian roads: drive slowly. Rule #2: keep your thumb on the horn. Rule #3: drive softly. In short, "pelan-pelan" as we say in Bahasa...

  12. Bravo Corinne! That's it, I see that you have your car in hand! Wonderful, these little beasts... Did the mimic octopus do his magic tricks for you ??
    See you soon 😉

  13. @Fabrice: It must never happen again, never again! It could have been worse.
    @Anthony: Oh yes... I'm having a great time with my 7D underwater! I can't wait to do it again. We were lucky for the mimic, we could stay very long with him, in 2 meters of water. He made us full of magic tricks. Unforgettable!!!