A Small Stream on the Halmahera Island, Maluku, Indonesia

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Indonesia, Maluku Island, Halmahera Island

The Halmahera Island is part of the northern Maluku. It is one of Indonesia’s beautiful habitats. Here lives a unique goby species, Stiphodon annieae. Rivers flowing through mountainous and forested lands are the shelter to this creature. It inhabits a clean, oxygen-rich biotope, where the ground consists of coarse stones and pebbles. Simulating an my home the natural habitat of annieae gobys, a species I love, has been an exciting experience.

Halmahera, also known as Jailolo or Gilolo, is the largest island on the Maluku Archipelago. It is located east of Sulawesi in Western New Guinea. It is part of the North Maluku province of Indonesia. Sofifi, the capital of the province, is located on the west coast of the island. This island is consisting of 5 regencies: Halmahera Timur/East Halmahera, Halmahera Selatan/South halmahera, Halmahera Barat/West halmahera, Halmahera Utara/North Halmahera, and Halmahera Tengah/Central Halmahera.

Submitted by
Arif Hikmet Başeğmez
Approved by
Greg Martin & Peter Unmack
0.3414912, 127.8680115
Geographical region
Southeastern Asia
Drainage Basin
Weda Tengah
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
26 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

7 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen

Substrate in nature

Stone form
Submerged terrestrial vegetation

Aquatic Biotope

Date of collecting
Collecting area
Water depth
Air temperature


Affected by human activity
Affected by human activity
Surrounding area

Most of the Halmahera island are mountains. Small and narrow island is covered by luxuriant tropical rain forests. Due to the influence of the Kuroshio Current flows through the northern equator, the island has a humid climate throughout the year. The island is shaped in “K” letter, it almost like a miniature of Sulawesi island. By having white sandy beaches, pristine forests and spectacular Mamuya Mountain in the distance, the island offers stunning scenery.

Weda, the place I described, is situated in Halmahera Tengah and its geographical coordinates are 0° 21′ 0″ North, 127° 52′ 0″ East. There are many cherished species of birds in Weda, such as White Cockatoos, Eclectus Parrots, Redcheek Parrots, Dusky Scrubfowl, Hornbills, Paradise Crows, Goliath Coucals, Sombre Kingfishers, Halmahera Cuckoo Shrikes, Moluccan Cuckoo Shrikes. Every morning the jungle fills up with the singing of the legendary Standardwing Bird of Paradise (Semioptera wallacei), the Ivory Breasted Pitta and the Common Paradise Kingfisher. Later at the day, the Wallace’s Golden Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera croesus) and many other butterflies and can bee seen here. At least 28 endemic species of birds and countless species of insects have their habitat here.

Underwater landscape

The coastal stream, with clear and oxygenated water, flows through the forest. The lower course of the river is characterized by rocky substrates, with boulders and pebbles. In the dry season, the river is very shallow, up to 40cm in the depth. there are no aquatic plants except for the plants that are submerged during the rainy season.

During the rainy season, the water level rises and is poured into the surrounding forest. Many branches, driftwood and fallen leaves drop into the water. These provide abundant food and shelter for fish. Under the long-term sunshine, the stones are covered with brown algae and other algae. Stiphodon annieae, Stiphodon rutilaureus and Stiphodon semoni live on the bottom of the river, on top of rocks but it is also often seen swimming in open water in the current between rocks. They feed on algae and small invertebrates scraping them on the surface of rocks.


  • Stiphodon semoni (Gobiidae)
  • Stiphodon annieae (Gobiidae)
Threats to ecology

Sicydiine community exhibits behaviours that are fostered by a number of environmental factors such as free passage, natural vegetation cover, unmodified flows, quality of estuaries, or the absence of introduced species. Reduced or disrupted surface flow of streams and rivers represents one of the greatest threats to population viability. Loss of connectivity disrupts contributions to the marine larval pool and post-larval recruitment to freshwater, while also reducing stream habitat required for reproduction. Climate change may indirectly influence migratory behaviour.

With the continuous deforestation of forests and mineral resources, many tropical islands in Indonesia, including the Halmahera Island, are at risk of large-scale destruction of ecosystems, including endemic organisms including the Stiphodon annieae. Some green organizations and environmentalists are actively working to protect the environment in which countless lives depend on and to realize the harmonious coexistence of human survival and development and natural ecology. May these beautiful elves in the tank not become the last “living fossils” of this species left in the world.


Comment by the expert

Peter Unmack: Aquarium was supposed to represent a fast flowing stream, video in the wild was not overly crisp.

Greg Martin: Well researched.