The Crab and The Pipehorse

The ocean at night is witness to many a drama. Some involve life-and-death struggles between predator and prey. Others are just funny.

Last night was the first night of the Night Safari hosted by Kasawari Lembeh Resort. We started diving around 17:30, and I came up out of the water on our last dive at around 02:30 the next morning. The moon was full and bright, and Lembeh Strait was teeming with activity.

On the last dive, one of the guides pointed out a little pipehorse (Acentronura sp.), which looks exactly like it sounds…half pipefish, half seahorse.


Like many of the other animals we came across, this little pipehorse was quite active, prowling the bottom looking for food. I followed as it made its way across the sandy bottom of a site called Pantai Parigi, taking photos as and when the opportunity arose, since the pipehorse, like most Sygnathids, was camera shy.


Along the way, the pipehorse grabbed hold of various objects with its prehensile steady itself and pause for short breaks.

The funny part came when the pipehorse latched onto a well-camouflaged crab:


Grumpy by nature, the crab was none-too-happy about the situation, and shook the bewildered pipehorse loose a few times. In each instance, the pipehorse turned with a puzzled expression, then wrapped its tail around the crab again…only to be dislodged once more.

Eventually, the crab grew weary of the clueless pipehorse and trundled off in a huff, as indignant crabs are wont to do.

I should've taken more photographs, but it's difficult to hold steady when you're overcome with uncontrollable laughter.