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Meet the Japan Pig – a new species of pygmy seahorse discovered

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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A new species of pygmy seahorse has been discovered in Japan, named the Japanese Pygmy Seahorse, or Japan Pig (Hippocampus japapigu). Only a few millimeters long, these charismatic creatures inhabit shallow waters and blend in well with the algae-covered rocks where they live. They are not found living in close association with a specific host such as a gorgonian or soft coral, rather they cling to algal turfs in the subtropical reefs on which they live

The species is characterised, and distinguished from the other free-living pygmies, by a reticulate pattern of white lattice over the body, which often has a black spot within it.  There are also several morphological and genetic differences between this and other pygmy seahorses.  The body colouration is brown, beige, to pink and whitish. They inhabit subtropical and temperate reefs from southern to the central west of Japan.  The Izu islands of Miyake and Hachijo are good locations to find these elusive seahorses, as well as Kushimoto and Sagami Bay.

© Richard Smith – www.OceanRealmImages.com

Richard Smith, part of the team that put forward the scientific paper to name this new species, states “I’m so pleased that this project naming the Japanese pygmy has finally come to fruition. It all began over a decade ago when I first saw a picture of an unusual pygmy seahorse from Japan. In 2013, after completing my PhD on the biology of their cousins the Bargibant’s and Denise’s pygmies, I went to a fish biology conference in Okinawa, Japan primarily with the goal of adding on a trip afterwards to hunt for the elusive fish. I found a dozen of them, when I took many of these images and made early field observations. Jumping forward to a seahorse biology conference in Tampa, Florida, for my involvement with the IUCN Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group, I met Graham Short and told him about the seahorse, and the rest is history!”

For more information and images of pygmy seahorses, visit Richard Smith’s website by clicking here.

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DAN and Indonesia Ministry of Tourism advance commitment to Safe Diving

Asia DTA Team

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Divers Alert Network and the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism are moving forward with their commitment to promoting dive safety in Indonesia. DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle and COO Panchabi Vaithiyanathan met with Indonesia Minister of Tourism Dr. Sandiaga Uno on September 1 to further the two organizations’ Partnership to Promote Diving Safety

The meeting took place in Jakarta amid the opening of Deep and Extreme Indonesia, Asia’s largest outdoor adventure, diving, and marine tourism show, and followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding earlier this year in which the organizations committed to working together to promote safe diving.

In the months ahead, DAN’s Indonesia team, led by Ronny Hertiadhi and Bayu Wardoyo, will be undertaking various initiatives including raising awareness for the new DAN Emergency Hotline in Indonesia (which is available in Bahasa Indonesia and English), training physicians through DAN’s Academies of Dive Medicine, conducting inspections and providing support for recompression chambers, training chamber operators, disseminating safety resources for divers (new and experienced), and supporting dive professionals and operators with free safety consultations, safety seminars, and risk mitigation measures.

“We are so pleased to be working with Minister Uno and his colleagues on this bold initiative,” Ziefle said. “Their enthusiasm — and the enthusiasm of the attendees at the DEEP show — was inspiring. The ministry has embraced the importance of safety in promoting Indonesia as a great place to dive, and we are excited to work alongside them to implement meaningful programs and strategies.”

While the effort is ongoing, the next major milestone in the collaboration will take place on September 13, when DAN Vice President, Risk Mitigation, Francois Burman and DAN Vice President, Medical Services, Matías Nochetto will travel to Indonesia to present a series of lectures and safety presentations to dive operators and medical professionals around the country.

Join the DAN community or learn more at DAN.org.

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Save on NEW Emperor Harmoni

Asia DTA Team

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The launch of Emperor Harmoni – Emperor Divers’ brand-new liveaboard in Indonesia – is just a few weeks away with the finishing touches currently taking place. And, to welcome her to their fleet, Emperor have put together an offer as magnificent as the boat herself.

Anyone booking a trip on Harmoni for 2022 or 2023 will receive a 25% discount if they book and confirm before October 1st 2022.

That means the first guests on board can not only explore and dive the Indonesian waters in the finest of style but do so at an incredible price. And sailing on Harmoni really is fine.

She is a 24-berth, traditional Indonesian phinisi-style vessel which has been bespoke made using a combination of Emperor’s vast experience of liveaboards and the expertise of legendary Indonesian boat builder Pak Haji.

Constructed almost entirely by hand using Sulawesi ironwood, Harmoni has been designed specifically to offer the finest diving experiences possible in spacious surroundings of the very highest standard.

The beautifully-finished cabins all have en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning while the deck areas offer plenty of comfortable places to sit and maybe even enjoy a relaxing massage. The dining area is spacious and serves the high-quality food and drink you would expect from an Emperor Divers holiday.

The first trip leaves on September 16th and will cruise from Bali, taking in the wonderful scenery of Moyo Island, Sumbawa and Sangean Volcano before finally reaching Komodo National Park. 

The offer is valid on new bookings only and discount is not to be combined with group free places or any other discount or promotion.

Email reservations@emperordivers.com to confirm pricing and availability or speak personally to the Emperor Divers’ reservation team to find out more.

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