Pygmy seahorses and Diving in Menjangan

Are you planning your next diving trip to Bali? Are you trying to decide which area to visit during your stay? Did you know that we have Blue Corner Dive Centers in the the very best diving locations in Bali including Menjanganin North Bali, Nusa Lembongan IslandMushroom Beach Lembongan and Nusa Penida.

If you are looking for a relaxing diving trip, phenomenal topside nature, a taste of rural Bali life away from the crowds and phenomenal reefs, a trip to Mejangan must be on your Bali Bucket List!

Our Menjangan Dive Centre is based at NusaBay Menjangan Resort which is the only resort located within the West Bali National Park (Bali Barat). From this beautiful resort we are able to offer a personalised and friendly service, taking small groups of divers to Menjangan Island and the surrounding reefs.

Menjangan Island’s dive sites are famous for many reasons including the stunning coral walls, the rich diversity of marine life and the clear calm waters. One of the many highlights of scuba diving Menjangan and nearby Pemuteran are pygmy seahorses. These tiny seahorses are one of our favourite species to spot and they are always a hit with underwater photographers. How much do you know about these exquisite critters? Read on to find out more! 

There are several species of pygmy seahorse found in Indonesia but by far the most well known is the Hippocampus bargibanti. The “bargibanti” was the first ever pygmy seahorse to be discovered and when you are scuba diving in Bali it is the most likely species that you will see. 

The Hippocampus bargibanti was discovered by a scientist named Georges Bargibant in 1969 when he found a pair attached to a gorgonian sea fan. Dr Bargibant had been collecting samples of sea fans for scientific research purposes and it was only later when he was examining them in his laboratory that he came across two pairs of tiny eyes staring back at him. It’s quite incredible to think that this species had remained undetected by divers since diving began!

The Hippocampus bargibanti is a master of disguise and lives almost exclusively on the gorgonian fan Muricella. Perhaps some of the reason why they were undiscovered for so long is that they are able to match their skin color and appearance to that of the fan almost exactly, which when combined with their tiny proportions makes them very difficult to spot. Their camouflage ability is no coincidence – they appear to live in symbiosis with the fan which leads to them developing ‘tubercles’ which mimic the bulbous textures of the fan; the most common color variations are pink, yellow and light purple. The maximum length of a bargibanti is 2.7 cm (including the tail) which makes them the largest of all the pygmy seahorse species. 

Hippocampus bargibanti

Hippocampus bargibanti

When you are scuba diving in Bali the chance to see one of these minute seahorses should not be missed and around Mangjangan Island there are healthy numbers of gorgonian fans to provide habitat for them.

Pygmy seahorses are not found worldwide which makes them a very special sighting when you are diving in Bali. They are part of the sygnathidaefamily (which includes seahorses, pipefishes and weedy and leafy sea dragons) whose distinctive features include having tubular mouths into which they suck their food, very short snouts and the males carry their young inside their trunk as opposed to in a pouch on the tail like other seahorse species. 

Around Menjangan Island some of the best dive sites for spotting pygmy seahorses include Pos 1 and Sandy Slope where huge Gorgonians punctuate the reef and walls. Our expert dive guides are excellent spotters and know where to look for the best chance of a sighting. We see Bargibanti’s at depths of between 15meters and 40meters so no matter what level of diver you are, you have a good chance of a sighting!

Pygmy Seahorse

Pygmy Seahorse

As well as finding pygmy seahorses around Menjangan and Pumerteran you’ll also be treated to a rich tapestry of reefs which are teeming with life and bursting with color – this is diving in Bali at it’s best! Take a look out to the blue to watch the ribbons of silvery fish passing by, hunt for critters among the corals and be simply dazzled by the multitude of colourful reef fish swarming around you.

Are you new to diving or want to advance your dive skills during your stay? Not a problem, at Blue Corner Dive Menjangan we offer a full range of PADI coursestoo!

Are you still trying to decide between the magic of Menjangan and the islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida? Why choose between them when you can see it all in one phenomenal Bali diving adventure? Combine diving at 2 or more of our Blue Corner Dive centres (Menjangan, Nusa Lembongan, Mushroom Bay Lembongan, Nusa Penida) and we’ll help you to arrange the transport and transfers so all you have to do is enjoy incredible Bali Diving!

To make a reservation or for more information about scuba diving in Bali contact us on: info@bluecornerdive.com