Today’s pic is a Magnificent Ceratosoma nudibranch, photographed in South Komodo – near the epic Horseshoe Bay at Rinca island. It was about 2.5 inches in length.
There was quite a bit of excitement when this nudi was first spotted – apparently it is not often seen. This one was down around 70 feet, and with many of us wanting to capture an image/video of it, I hurried my first attempt so I wouldn’t be hogging the subject, and then I moved up into shallower water as we were nearing the end of the dive. Doing a quick review of my images, I felt I hadn’t really got what I was hoping for, so I waited out the rest of the gang, who I could see below me, as they took their shots. Once everyone had their turn and had left the area, I dropped back down and took another quick try (getting low on gas and bottom time), and this is the best I got.
Interestingly, the next day, the guides found three of these nudiibranchs, all clustered together (nudi orgy?), at Cannibal Rock, in Horseshoe Bay. The one pictured above was taken on a wall dive, outside the bay.
I will admit that I did not see the tiny Ladybug Amphipod (Cyproideidae) hitchhiking on the nudi (top right) until I downloaded the shot and saw it on a larger screen.
These little ladybugs of the sea are fascinating creatures – very, very tiny – less than 1/4 inch long. To the naked eye, they resemble fleas – and like fleas, they jump around so they are very difficult to shoot. Once the guides pointed a few out, I started seeing them everywhere (through my macro viewfinder and lens – I was really not able to see them at all without this magnification). I have only ever “seen” them in South Komodo, and interestingly, they have apparently only been documented in this area.
Here is a closer view of the ladybugs – again, the best I managed. I only saw them on this one dive – which was a wall dive with a bit of current, so that made it tricky to get a pleasing shot. This image was taken with a +10 wet diopter layered over my 105mm macro lens.
One of these days I will get around to writing up the final chapters of the Komodo Chronicles, which will include these great dives we did at Rinca/Horseshoe Bay.