There are some strange looking creatures in nature and plenty of these live under the sea. There is something beautiful about their ugliness though. Whether they use it as camouflage or to keep predators at a distance, there is always a reason for their looks. If you are looking for ugly beautiful, here are some of the species you should keep an eye out for when you dive around Gangga Island and North Sulawesi.
There are a number of frogfish found in the waters of North Sulawesi. These are really odd looking creatures with a flattened, oval body and a large head. It is their wide frog-like mouths that give them their name and their ability to swallow large prey.
They don’t move very fast, but their ability to change colour and texture is incredibly effective in allowing them to ambush their next meal. It also makes them very difficult to spot, so divers and underwater photographers need to keep a very sharp eye out to see them.
One of the ugliest critters around is the stargazer, a venomous fish sometimes called the mother-in-law fish. These fish are sometimes seen on night dives in the Lembeh Strait where they hide in the sand waiting to ambush prey. Like frogfish, they are slow but can deliver both venom and electric shocks when a potential meal gets too close.
The strangest features of this fish are their top mounted eyes and large, upward-facing mouth. These features poking out of the sand are what you might spot while you are diving, but beware, they may give you a bit of a fright if you aren’t prepared for how ugly they are.
Closely related to stone fish, the demon stinger goes by a number of names. Perhaps the name sea goblin or devil stinger gives you an idea of what you can expect to see. Measuring up to 26 centimeters long, this fish’s body is covered with venomous spines and wart-like glands giving it a bumpy or knobbly look.
Demon stingers partially bury themselves in the sand in the daytime and hunt at night so you have to be particularly vigilant to see them. Your Gangga Divers guide may be able to point you in the right direction and point out signs to look for.
A real oddity of the sea is the bobbit worm, an ambush predator with no eyes. They sense their prey using five antennae that point upwards from the top of their heads making them look quite alien. These bristle worms bury themselves in the soft sediment and grab prey with their retractable mandibles as they pass by.
To catch a glimpse of a bobbit worm, look out for the light reflecting off of the iridescent cuticle that covers their exoskeleton.
Also known as the flowery flounder, this fish is part of the lefteye flounder species. Named after the peacock coloured, or flowery type markings on its body, it isn’t so hard to spot on the sea floor. The strange feature of this flounder is that both eyes are raised on short stumps on the top of the left hand side of their head. Both eyes can move independently of each other making them very strange looking indeed at times.
One fun fact about this flounder is that as juveniles they have one eye on each side of their heads but as they get older one moves to meet the other on the left side.
Are these creatures you would like to look out for while diving in North Sulawesi, or would you rather stick to the prettier species? Let us know in the comments box below.