Who does this shadow belong to?

Actually I wanted to do a post about fish and my work but today was an off day so I thought I should rather do an off day post. On days off me and my field assistants love to do three things: sleeping, diving, more sleeping. The second one was quite interesting today…

One interesting spot to dive around here is Chituta, a site containing cliffs and large underwater boulders. The local divers that help me catch my fish brought amazing specimens from Chituta and now it was time to explore it myself. When I put my head underwater I was less thrilled as visibility was super shitty. Too much plankton that blocked the view. At ten meters I thought we need to stop the dive. We couldn’t see anything. This dive was supposed to go to 25 meters and deep dives are creepy when you don’t see shit!

We sticked close to the rocks and after a couple of minutes it cleared up a little bit so we continued. Big Nkupis (biggest cichlid in the lake) inspected us from not even a meter away, a beautiful Cyphotilapia frontosa swam between the rocks (wanted to take a photo for you guys but this fish didn’t trust me and only showed me its behind), and big swarms of baby Paracyprichromis brieni stayed still in the water, lazily opening their mouths to feed on some plankton. But then I saw something else.

A shadow. Unclear in the distance, water quality too bad to see what it was but it wasn’t a fish. Were there small crocs around? When I turned around I saw it again. This time, it was three of them.

Behind my back…

Now I knew who these shadows belonged to but the curious little clowns are also very shy. So I decided to wait behind a big rock and wait whether they would come back. We were lucky.

This little guy came back several times to check us out. Oscar the Otter.

The otters came to see us strange creatures. I wonder who was more interested in the other one. Although otters are quite abundant around lake Tanganyika, I’ve never met one indeed water. Hope there is a next time…

Published by caribiologist

Postdoc at the University of Basel, Switzerland

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