September 2, 2007

Lembongan's Living Tide Pools
Jungutbatu (Nusa Lembongan), Indonesia

When the tide goes out in Nusa Lembongan, it really goes out—sometimes exposing several hundred meters of ocean bottom. Contained within these tide pools is enough to entertainment to last days, if not weeks.

I find the diversity of animal life inside Lembongan's intertidal zone absolutely captivating. Organisms that have made tide pools (also tidal pools or rock pools) their home must be well adapted to adjust to the drastic changes in environment that come with the changing of tides each day. In order to survive, tide pool life must avoid being washed away by the waves, must have adaptions for both wet and dry condition, keep from drying out in the sunlight of low tide, and avoid being eaten (many hide under rocks and seaweed to accomplish this, others rely camouflage).

Nusa Lembongan easily take the award for Most Camouflaged Crab—I've never seen any sport such elaborate and convincing disguises as I have here. It's really quite the impossible to avoid walking on them—every sandaled footstep crunches anonymously. Poor crabbies.

Equally interesting, I've never seen such sneaky starfish before. Here they prefer to lay in wait, reminiscent of a trapdoor spider.

Other quick highlights of interesting creatures include: A hermit crab with a live sea anemone on its shell; a blue starfish with a missing leg; more crab camouflage; a video of a Lembongan's fast-moving starfish in action (5MB); and a video of some innocent crab entertainment (12MB).

My top tide pool location picks on Nusa Lembongan are nothern Jungutbatu and Mushroom Bay.

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