|School of batfish|
Fish of the Philippines come in all shapes and sizes. Some look like fish a child might draw but many others are like visions out of your wildest dreams. Diving in a biodiversity hotspot like the Philippine archipelago gives me a rare chance to encounter some of these strange and wild animals. Do keep in mind as you are reading this post that all the animals pictured here, no matter how different they look, are ALL fish.
|Blue spotted stingray|
Ribbon Eels, Moray Eels, and Snake Eels
|Moray peering out from its lair|
|Ribbon moray, Rhinomuraena quaesita|
Snake eels are a bit more mysterious. They live buried in the sand with only their head exposed at times. Wild eyes and incredible camouflage mark the snake eels we have found here so far.
Talk about weird and unusual. These fish are definitely not out of some kids book. Throw all you think of how a fish should look out the window and you will find some of the cutest fish you never knew existed.
|Juvenile Emperor Angelfish|
Sea Horses and PipefishAnother creature you might mistake as not being a fish. Sea horses have a very wide range but tend to live in areas where divers don't frequent as much. They like shallow sea grasses and estuaries and typically live in one small area for a long time. Unfortunately these areas are at risk from a lot of man made activities as well as being harvested in the millions every year for traditional medicine purposes. The closely related pipefish are also high on scuba divers' lists of fish to find here in the Philippines. Pipefish, like their relatives the seahorse, leave most of parenting duties to the males. Though it has been seen that if a male pipefish lacks the proper nourishment he may digest his forming embryos.
|Lionfish with a tasty morsel|
Scorpionfish and LionfishWhen you hear 'dangerous fish', maybe big predators comes to mind. But I would think about these guys. Scorpionfish and lionfish are chalked full of venom. They also happen to be beautiful with numerous appendages and striking markings.
Lionfish have made a name for themselves around the globe as invasive pests, decimating foreign reefs. But this is where they are from. Native to these reefs they are still voracious predators. I caught a picture of this one above out on the hunt.
There are still more fish out there to find. We are headed to Malapascua and Dumaguete next. Clown frogfish? Blue ribbon eel? Maybe even a thresher shark will be seen. We checked a lot of amazing creatures off the list here in Puerto Galera but more missions remain. Plus the lure of beautiful beaches, shipwrecks, deep dives, and coral gardens draws us on to explore more islands of the Philippines.