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3 ways divers play with the Rockstars of Kumejima Island,” the Red-spotted Blenny…




It's the 3rd day of filming and the rainy season is well underway on Kumejima Island... Rain is falling, red sand has washed up on the beach, and if you head off the coast a bit, the wind is strong and the waves are very high.

Even though the blue sky spread well into the second day, and the sea was blue as the island of Kumi, it appears that winter has returned.
It looks like we will soon be able to see some humpback whales breaching.

Now, it is right in the middle of rainy season in Kume Island, but in this season, the ocean is overflowing with new life.

Laying, incubation, protection and hatching of eggs.

The fish's eggs hatched a day earlier than anticipated due to a sudden rise in water temperature and we missed being able to witness it, but we were able to get a lot of good footage of the other three during the 5 days of our filming.

Here you can see Leopard Benny and Yellowtail Clownfish laying eggs, Boxer Crabs incubating their eggs, Dick's Damsel, Shiriten and Red-spotted Blenny protecting their eggs, male Square-spot Fairy Basslet changing their colors in order to attract females, and many others.


Yellowtail clownfish laying eggs

The protection of the Plectroglyphidodon johnstonianus egg. Kissing the egg, it protects it.

The protection of the Plectroglyphidodon johnstonianus egg. Kissing the egg, it protects it.

To be honest, this is the first time I've felt ecological observations could be so fun.
It isn't flattery, there's no mistaking that the humor of The guide's commentary made me think that.



This is the yellow clownfish. Two years ago it was man, 1 year ago it was female, and now it's a widow.

I can only manage to do this trick because I'm a guide who spends a lot of time observing the fish in their natural habitat year-round.


The Montsuki pattern on nails!?
Let the Kumejima Island Red-spotted Blenny nibble on them.


This time of year is perfect for observing fish in their natural habitat, and it's something that even beginners can easily enjoy here on Kumejima Island.
We've nicknamed this the 'Red-spotted Blenny Chow-down'!
The Red-spotted Blenny is as popular as the Lumpfish (or so it's believed).
The place we chose for the diving point was off the coast of Torishima. According to the guide, it is 'Montsuki village'.


Torishima Oki is located right in the middle of the ocean of the coast of Kagoshima, here at the bottom left, and Garasa-yama Oki.

In principle, the geography of this area is characterized by sudden drop-offs, but if you ignore that and stay in shallow areas, you can see many Red-spotted Blenny playing around here and there.
'There is a large quantity of them living there, so I think you will be able to see them protecting their eggs, and if you thrust your finger, you can experience their snapping and menacing. If you have good luck, you may be able to encounter specimens who have made their bodies black and are engaging in courtship behavior,' said The guide
I dived into the mission in order to come across the 3 patterns.


Mission 1: Protect the egg


First is a male protecting the eggs she has laid using a hole in the coral where a Dendropoma maximum was.



This hole has a pretty surface, so it seems that it would be easy to lay eggs, and that the eggs would be glistening, too.
You can find males protecting their eggs all over the place, so even those who aren't skilled can experience the joy of locating fish!
Exactly, Montsuki village.



Mission 2: Repeat single-mindedly!


He's moving his mouth in a chewing motion, but he isn't playing around. For the Red-spotted Blenny, this is a serious fight. If I were to poke my finger towards him, he would attack. (There is some discrepency in behavior depending on the personality of the individual fish.)
But even this has a secret (?), which is that when you put your finger in and it gulps it down, every once in a while the human has to lose.
If someone really doesn't budge a finger and keeps guard on the eggs then loses confidence and runs away. How weak, cute! (ha,ha)
However, depending on the specimen, the human will stop fighting with it, so when you want to take a picture, take it as quickly as possible.
And so, I put it in immediately.

Me: 'Well, come on!'
Red-spotted Blenny: '...'



The first one didn't react at all, so I'll try it with another one.

Me: 'Come on, what are you waiting for?!'
Red-spotted Blenny: '...Chomp!'



Heh,It bit it for me.
Even so, it's pretty crazy that your nail polish is quite similar to a red-spotted benny... Even the camera man, Mr. Ochi was saying 'It is like the pattern bled onto her nails!' (Haha...)
I am sure you are thinking 'Does not that hurt?!' but actually it does not hurt to be be bitten by a Red-spotted Blenny.
Its main food group is algae, so its teeth are soft. I was nervous at first too, but really, it doesn't hurt!
However, because the lance blenny mainly eats things like fish skin, its teeth are strong.




They do look quite similar, the way it's sticking its head out of the hole like that.

If you do the same kind of thing by mistake, this is what will happen.
I purposely bite into a lance blenny in front of guests, and when you squeeze it tightly in the middle of the water, blood spreads out everywhere, and whenever guests see that they make an expression like, woah, so I do that sometimes.
Huh... The guide, perhaps it is M? (haha)
But that hurts quite a bit, so if they don't really want to do it, it's subdued.
As for requests...further discussion is needed.


Mission 3: Aim for courtship


Males looking for a mate change colors to black and puff their nesting cavity in and out, but they stop this if humans approach.
Accordingly, observe from afar, and when you find a specimen that has become black, the secret is to hide yourself in the gaps and ridges of coral and observe it with only your face showing, just like the red-spotted blenny. At that time, think, 'I am coral,' and be still.
However, this time, even though there are specimens that are becoming black, timewise we couldn't wait until they started cheerfully courting, so it's been deferred until next time.
By the way, when it fly, it's like this.



During the rainy season, the Red-spotted Blenny at Montsuki Village (Red-spotted Blenny Village) are like the rock-stars of Kumejima Island, aren't they!
This is a shallow area with a depth of only around 5 meters, so it might be good for the day before you intend to go home

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