When Jim Black first relayed the above image taken by Nuswanto Lobbu from the Lembeh Strait's area, my first reaction was one of absolute astonishment! Nus's sighting was yet another addition to the lengthening list of undescribed Thecacerids on the site! Dr. Angel Valdes was quick to point out that Nus's specimen was in fact their specimen sp. 2 on page 110 of their Indo-Pacific Nudibranchs and Sea Slugs book. By the way, if you want to photograph our subject for this week, you will need to travel to the Lembeh Straits region of the world as it seems that it is has only been seen there todate! . Although somewhat similar to a Thecaderid (BOW 341) I saw some years ago in Bali, there can be no doubt that they are different after looking at the frontal area of the animal (above) and a second image providing a lateral view .
Thecacerids feed on arborescent bryozoans according to the Indo-Pacific book and this is what I observed during a trip to the Komodos a few years back!
For you slug watchers, Kasawari-Lembeh resort aside from all the other invertebrate life to be seen, is a great base of operations for your next slug trip to the Lembeh area. Ali and the other guides encourage you to prepare a wish list of creatures to be seen, and in most instances you will find your list fulfilled at the end of your trip. My recommendation comes by way of the high standard of service at Kasawari my wife and I enjoyed during a stay in Nov. 2008. And we paid the same as all other guests! A five minute video has been prepared in flash format for your enjoyment recounting our visit back then.
Nuswanto Lobbu is the current resort manager at Kasawari-Lembeh Resort in Sulawesi, Indonesia. He and his wife Lainie have 3 boys. He was trained by the late Larry Smith years ago...and what a prodigy...a special individual. With keen eyes and intellect, Nus quickly learned early on about the critters, their habitats, and how to achieve the shots that photographers so desperately want. It was a pleasure to watch his growth during my frequent visits. He is carrying on Larry's tradition, having trained a large cadre of the working divemasters in Lembeh and other locales. In this regard, his efforts and leadership will keep Lembeh Strait a world class dive destination for years to come. Nus is also responsible for an incredible number of great biological finds in Lembeh Strait, such as a Dendronotus sp. nudibranch ( BOW567) awaiting scientific description, but rarely gets the deserved credit. I know my photography portfolio would be a good bit short without his assistance.
With the owners, Nus has worked hard to place Kasawari-Lembeh Resort as the premier operation in Lembeh Strait now. He has been managing Kasawari-Lembeh Resort since 2005. The reefs and "muck" of Lembeh Strait are no doubt on the short list of the finest Nudibranch and critter havens on the planet. Nus and his divemasters are acknowledged as the best at uncovering Lembeh's cryptic secrets. The clientele list at Kasawari-Lembeh Resort is a who's-who of underwater photographers and scientists, which supports that high praise. With that constant parade of Photo Pros through his realm, Nus got the "bug", and now has been taking pictures for a couple of years.
You will bask in luxury... be well cared for...and shown the best Lembeh Strait has to offer while in his charge. I am proud to call this fine man my friend.