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Unknown & Rare Species Photo Gallery

One of the biggest highlights of diving for me is the joy of discovery and finding new species. How many people on this planet can say they were the first to see new species of animal – that really is something cool now isn’t it! So far the list is going quite well from walking sharks to sea stars, to tiny gobies, there have been plenty of unknown opisthobranchs and even scorpionfish that are still to this day totally unknown species.

Many scientists find themselves searching for new species all the time, some get lucky and some never get lucky at all.  Below we have a few of the more rare species and even a few totally unknown species found on Diving 4 Images trips.


Here you can see egg mass partially covered by the cerata.

The white mass is the see egg mass partially covered!

A most unique Opisthobranch!  

Did you know there is a sea slug that broods eggs?

A very rare species of opisthobranch, the Melibe coralophilia. This is the only species of sea slug that actively takes care of it’s eggs. Yes, that’s true!  As you can see in the photograph here, this species can be seen with an egg mass on the side of it’s body. The animal protects the eggs by curling it’s body around the egg mass.

This species is rarely seen as it is often hidden within hard corals.

Happy hunting and please do keep us posted if you find and/or photograph this nudi.


We couldn't even decide what genus this is! Maybe Stiliger or Polybranchia that has been found a few times on filamentous green algae - happy hunting sluggers!

At first we thought this may be Stiliger or Polybranchia, the experts had no idea from photographs.

Totally Unknown Opisthobranch.

This may even be a totally new genus?

This is latest critter to baffle marine life experts.

What is really interesting about this latest find is that it’s not only an unknown species, so far from the photographs that all the experts have seen they all have no idea what genus this is too. Could this really be a new genus of opisthobranch?

This gorgeous little opisthobranch is about 3mm long and was found twice during the same nudibranch expedition. Both times it was found on filamentous green algae. It is incredibly cryptic and hard to see in it’s natural habitat therefore the photo shown was taken using Bernard Picton’s home made nudibranch stage. It was later taken back to it’s original habitat.

Happy hunting and please do keep us posted if you find and/or photograph this nudi.


Another new species of shark, this one only found in Halmahera

A new species of walking shark, this one only found in Halmahera…

The first ever sighting and photograph of the Halmahera walking shark.

The walking shark is one of the worlds most unique sharks in that it really does walk.  Most shark species swim though species in the genus Hemiscyllium rarely swim, they prefer to use their pectoral and anal fins like feet and sort of crawl along the bottom.

Another new species of shark, this one only found in Halmahera

A closer view of the Halmahera walking shark

This particular species Hemiscyllium halmahera was first sighted in May 2005 on my first dive expedition in this area.  I had invited friends from the Indonesian dive club members Kapal Selam who agreed to join in a great adventure expedition, little did we know we would be the first to ever see this species on walking shark.

Later on working with Mark, Erdmann, and Gerry Allen for Conservation International on other exploratory dive expeditions I learnt a lot more about these sharks.  I heard that they are specific to certain areas and as soon as I heard this I went through photographs and alerted Mark and Gerry to this specimen photographed in Halmahera.  They were certain it was a new species though it wasn’t till years later that they managed to confirm this by collecting a specimen and doing the genetic work required to name a new species.


This was the first time this fish had ever been photographed!

The Bryozoan Goby – named Sueviota bryozophyla in 2016.

This little fish is what we called the Bryozoan goby.  Shortly after photographing this unusual little fish, photographs were sent to Dr. Gerry Allen who confirmed this as a totally new species.

The species was first found in Ambon early in 2013, then later that same year I found another in Alor. Then only a few months later the guys from Nad Lembeh went searching for this and sure enough they found them in Lembeh Straits too. I have heard that recently this Bryozoan goby has also been seen and photographed and in the Philippines as well.

More news and images on this species can be found in the links below:

Blennie Watcher Web link
Advanced Aquarist Weblink


Totally unknown Halgerda species from Triton Bay

Totally unknown Halgerda species from Triton Bay

New Opistobranch (Halgerda) Species

Upon first glance this looks like a few other well known species of Halgerda. For those who may not have spent numerous years looking at the latest publications of opisthobranchs this could look fairly similar to a few other species of Halgerda such as H. batangas. Though if we take a closer look at the various Halgerda species we can see that none of the other known Halgerda species in any of the opisthobranch publications have the round markings that this species has. So far this species is only known from this one photograph that was taken in Triton Bay in 2012. For anyoen wishing to try and find this species, you contact us about joining one our Triton Bay Critter Expeditions.

If you have found anything similar or have any other photographs of this species please do let us know…


I first came aross this species in 2008 and it has yet to be identified. It looks similar to the dragon moray from Hawaii though very different markings

As yet unknown moral eel!

Unknown Eel Species

Another really unusual find for Indonesian waters. This particular eel looks very similar morphologically to the dragon moray from Hawaii.

I first came across this rather bizarre looking moray eel in Komodo during a critter trip back in 2008. This has yet to be positively identified and continues to be another unknown. The difference between this eel and most moray eel species is the elongated tubular nostrils above its eyes. The nostrils makes this look fairly similar to the dragon moray from Hawaii though with very different markings. This particular species has been seen numerous times at the same location and as far as I am aware it has yet to be seen anywhere outside of the Komodo National Park.


This was only previously found in Indonesia from trawls beyond 200m.

This was only previously found in Indonesia from trawls beyond 200m.

Very Rare & Unusual Sea Star

I first came across this unusual sea star in Alor back in 2005 and never found it any books or couldn’t find any information about this online.

After a lot of researching and a sharing a few posts about this animal, eventually a post seen on Wetpixel led to to more news. It was Marine biologist and researcher Pat Colin who put me in contact with Gordon Hendler who confirmed that this really was indeed a very rare and unusual a find, especially in the warmer waters of Indonesia. The closest species found to this would be Coronaster briareus, this species is only known from really deep water.

Usually only known in Asia from really deep waters below 200m and also known from colder water locations like Galapagos and Cocos islands.


Unknown Scorpionfish or is it a Velvetfish or a Waspfish species?

Check out those huge pectoral fins, very unusual

Check out those huge pectoral fins and upturned mouth, very unusual too!

This is another unknown species that was found while diving within the Komodo National Park area. I found this special little fish while on a night dive on Rinca island. I was instantly really excited as I knew I’d never seen anything like this in any identification books and it had to be something rare.

The upturned mouth and huge pectoral fins suggested at first to me that it could be some kind of a scorpionfish of some species. When I sent the images over to Dr. Gerry Allen he mentioned to me that he thought it could possibly be a new species of waspfish.

Whatever it is, it certainly is different and fairly interesting little critter indeed!

 


An unknown nudi from west Australia

An unknown Hypselodoris nudibranch from west Australia

Unknown Opisthobranch Species from West Australia

This very different nudibranch, probably a Hypselodoris species was found in Esperance south west Australia. It must have been blown off the nearby reef as it was struggling to get any grip in the shallow surge in this silica like white sand on many shores around Esperance.

It looked very odd until I carefully placed it back onto the nearby reef with algae. As soon as it gained some grip it immediately headed for the algae where it blended in so well I could hardly see it again.

I sent this out to all the marine life experts I know in Australian and none had any idea about this one.


Already confirmed a new species by Dr. Mark Erdmann

As yet un-named mantis shrimp

This was a creature that I first noticed as being unusual on a reef in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.  I noticed the slight different between this species and the red/orange mantis shrimp Lysiosquilloides mapia.  I noticed that the eyes were slightly different than L. mapia and distinct small size made it very different from the larger Lysiosquillina lisa.

I came across this again while out on my first dive expedition with Dr. Mark Erdmann who happens to be one of the leading experts on mantis shrimp.  Mark and his team of experts were seeking out specific mantis shrimp species and other marine life while working on a genetics survey of marine life around Asia Pacific.  After one particular dive I told Mark that I had possibly found him a new species of mantis shrimp.  He looked quite surprised at me, I suppose the thought of “huh, you’re a dive guide how would you know what a new species was”.  I took Mark to the spot where the mantis shrimp was and he was able to take the specimen.  He had said he’d noticed it before though thought it was a hybrid, I asked if a hybrid could hybridise the same in two very different locations and pointed out I’d seen this first in Papua New Guinea.  After 20 minutes of looking through his notes Mark confirmed it was indeed a new species.


Scroll over to read text about each image, click on image to view full size.

 
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Critters and Nudibranchs  2012
22 September to 03 October 2012

After the huge success of 2011’s nudibranch hunt we just had to do these back-to-back trips again.  It’s not just nudibranchs of course, when you scour a range of habitats for seas slugs you can be guaranteed to find loads of other critters you would have missed.  If you love nudibranchs and critters this trip is not to be missed. Read more…

Ambon Critters

Ambon Critters
13 March to 23 March 2013

A perfect dive holiday for those wanting to find rare and unusual marine life, go searching for the unknown and even learn some more about the critters you love most. We will be diving from the charming and very well set up Maluku Divers.  Read More…

Triton Bay to Ambon Adventure
19 October to 02 November 2012

This is a real diving adventure with some amazing topside trips.  The trip starts in Triton Bay before moving into the Banda Sea and finishing in the critter rich, black sands of Ambon.  There is a real variety of diving on offer with amazing reefs, plenty of rich fish-life and some world-class critter action.  Read more…

Damai Critter Expedition
25 March to 05 April 2013

Places are limited on this exclusive trip, focusing on the very best critter spots between Flores and Alor.  We have a few new  critter-rich sites in Flores that, plus our favourite hotspots in Alor and Pantar!  Our favourite critter diving route on one of the best boats sailing in Indonesia; it doesn’t get better than this! Read more…

Critters and Nudibranchs 2013
September 2013 TBC

We’re finalising the arrangements for our annual critter and nudibranch trip for September and October 2013.  There are still some details to be confirmed but if you want to be assured a place we can hold places until the trip comes on line.  Read more…

Galleries By Photographer

Over the years Diving 4 Images has had the prevelige of working with some of the best underwater and film-makers.  These galleries showcase some of the amazing images they captured whilst with Diving 4 Images.  Go to galleries…

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Galleries By Area

Here is a selection of our favourite images from the areas we love to dive.  If you are considering a trip, or already have one booked one, then the galleries here will give you an idea of what you might see.  Go to galleries…

Graham Abbott

Graham is the founder and director of Diving 4 Images.   Read More…

John Fletcher

John is our office manager.  Read More…

Lembeh

The most consistent critter diving in Indonesia, Lembeh has built up a huge reputation over recent years with thousands of critter hunters diving here every year.  Read More...

Triton Bay

Diving 4 Images were among the first to pioneer this remote and exotic area.  Diving here is still a real adventure with many sites still unexplored.  Read More…

Ambon and Seram

Ambon is fast becoming the location for critter diving and there are some excellent reefs and fishy dives too, yet few other divers make it here.  Read More…

Bali

Black sands and great critter diving in the North East plus sites where there is a chance of seeing Mola Mola when the season is right.  Read More…

Golden Dawn

One of the best boats working in Papua New Guinea.  Read More…

Cheng Ho

A very large and spacious boat making it ideal for large groups.  Read More…

Raja Ampat Explorer

A divers dive boat based in Raja Ampat.  Read More…