Lake Poso Mosintuwu Sulawesi Keepers - Dulumai

The Mini Museum of Aquatic Biota of Lake Poso is one of the activities organized during the Living Traditions Festival held at Dulumai village from October 18 to 19, 2023. Two aquariums brought from Dodoha, the base of Institut Mosintuwu, were filled with the results of children's adventures – search for the endemic aquatic biota directly in Lake Poso. The activity we call Lake Poso Biodiversity Adventure is part of introducing the endemic aquatic biota of Lake Poso to local people.

At 8 o'clock in the morning, I went to the lake on the edge of the village together with three Mosintuwu volunteers, a supervising teacher and 10 primary school children. Dulumai primary school children are very excited about collecting Lake Poso endemic aquatic biota.

Charli is one of them. He's really excited to dive and catch big crabs, so he asks what the scientific name is for this bungka? I replied that this large crab is called Sundathelphusa molluscivora. The name "molluscivora" means that it eats molluscs, snails or clams with hard shells. Hearing my explanation, the children became more curious and enthusiastic about diving in the shallow water in search of other endemic biota.

They then collected various molluscs and transferred them to the aquarium. The molluscs they collected included wuriri (Miratesta celebensis, Tylomelania kuli, Tylomelania carbo, Celetaia persculpta and Protancylus pileolus) and bangku-bangku (Corbicula possoensis). I explained one by one the species they found and said that what they knew as wuriri were more than thirty species found only in Lake Poso.

We continued our observations and collections at the edge of the rocks where there were many shrimps. We collected three species of shrimp (or lamale in the local language), namely Caridina sarasinorum, Caridina caerulea and Caridina ensifera. The younger children only recognized one type, so I had to explain the morphological differences of each species one by one so they could distinguish them. They really enjoy learning directly in nature.

The biota we further observed and collected were the masiwu fish (Mugilogobius sarasinorum) and rono (Oryzias nigrimas, Oryzias nebulosus and Oryzias orthognathus). There was an argument between Julio and Charli. Julio said this was rono (ricefish), but Charli said this was anasa (halfbeak). After looking into it, it turned out that the fish they were arguing about was rono (Oryzias nigrimas). Then I again explained the difference between rono and anasa in terms of morphology, so that they could understand.

At 10:30 we finished collecting various types of fish, shrimps, crabs and molluscs. Basrul, a photographer and Mosintuwu volunteer, helped clear the stand for the Mini Museum of Aquatic Biota of Lake Poso. Our small exhibit was visited by more than 50 children. They came and asked a lot of questions.

Nanda, one of them, is a fourth grade primary school student. She pointed to one of the photos and asked: “Bro, what is that?” What she meant was Miratesta celebensis, an endemic snail found only in Dulumai. I explained about the unique snail found only in Dulumai, while distinguishing it from other snails so that Nanda could easily remember it.

Introducing biodiversity to children is very important, so that they can love and protect it. Until now, many researchers have come and gone with scientific articles that are world famous but not yet known to the people of Lake Poso in general. Raising awareness about the importance of Lake Poso biodiversity is quite a tough task, but it is very possible if done consistently.

Kurniawan P. Bandjolu