Following a steep sandy shore we dropped down to about 90 ft, heading out to a small group of black corals that were swaying in the current. The waters around Dumaguete where we were diving are nutrient rich and a perfect area to see healthy black corals. We were looking for the Sawblade shrimp that make these their homes and within a few moments had quickly located a large number of them on the corals. Working quickly I photographed some individuals that were living near the edges of the coral fronds before moving back up the reef and out of the current.
Tozeuma armatum is an inhabitant of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and can be found at dive sites around Indonesia and the Philippines. They live on black coral branches and have evolved to blend into the corals much like a stick-insect on land has evolved to mimic the bark of it’s host.
The shrimp can be found in a rang of colors, white, yellow, orange and have bands along their bodies to break up the coloration. They are 2-3 inches long in most cases and sit on the long fronds of black corals where they feed in the water column.