Category Archives: Creature Features

Keep your friends close but anemones closer – A look at anemone fish

anemone fish puerto galera philippines

There’s a small but feisty species of fish that have evolved to live in a dangerous place in the ocean. Sea anemones may look beautiful, soft and colorful but they are armed to the teeth with tiny little darts that are used to poison fish before being eaten. That has never bothered anemone fish, they have been blessed by evolution to become bulletproof in the anemone world. Due to this blessing the anemone – anemone fish symbiotic relationship has become one of the most famous in the underwater world.

There are twenty-eight species of anemone fish worldwide, they form part of the damselfish gang. There are over eleven hundred species of anemone but only ten are used by the anemone fish. Once they decide on which to call home there are some rules which keep the house in order. There is only one female, she mates with the largest male. Once the female dies the broken-hearted male will swap genders to become the new mother and will then mate with the next male in line. Eggs are carefully laid very close to the anemone, they are attached to the reef or if on sand they use items like empty coconut shells. The parents take it in turns on aerating and cleaning them. After a while you can see tiny little eyes forming, after around fourteen days they all hatch.

If you are lucky enough to see some eggs you will notice parents are very vigilant, doing everything to protect the young. After watching these guys for many years there has been some very brave behavior. One fish took a very small bite out of my cheek, you could see tiny teeth marks on my face. Another headbutted the glass in my mask multiple times in an effort for me to vacate the area, one was biting the cloth of my rash guard trying to drag me away. You could say they are the Chuck Norris of the reef, even though we are million times bigger they will not be intimidated.

On the many dive sites of Puerto Galera, you can witness this amazing behavior while scuba diving. The most common species of anemone fish are Clarke’s, False clownfish, Saddleback and Pink. The most common anemone species are carpet, magnificent and bubble tip. They come in a few colors like orange and green. They can be found on most reef and muck diving sites. They are found at depths from five to thirty meters typically.

We hope you enjoy seeing these guys on your next dives at Scandi divers resort and remember don’t get to close if you value your life. We have made a short video for you to watch about anemone fish. Please like our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

The Nudibranchs of Puerto Galera – Video

nudibranchs puerto galera philippine scandi divers resort

If you spent hours in your garden looking through the flora for tiny little slugs, then your neighbor would probably be concerned for your welfare and call out the local psychiatrist recommending an emergency check-up. Yet scuba divers in their thousands spend hours searching through the corals looking for the underwater version of these creepy crawlies.

With Puerto Galera located in the Coral triangle and the Verde Island passage, it has more nudibranchs than you can shake a stick at. There are reason’s why the Godfather of the nudibranch world Dr Terry Gosliner has made numerous trips here. The Verde Island Passage has over a thousand named nudibranch species, when you consider the Caribbean has less than a thousand reef fish species the abundance is clear to see. The word nudibranch comes from Latin and ancient Greek words naked and gills which comes out of Google translate as nudibranch.

So, what’s the attraction of nudibranchs?

For a start the patterns and colors are so vibrant that they make great subjects for underwater photography. As slow movers, the chance to get a great image is high. They come in all shapes and sizes, one of the smallest and most famous is the Costasiella kuroshimae, affectionately know as Shaun the sheep, it’s sometimes smaller than a grain of rice but can be seen with the aid of a macro lens or magnifying glass.



At the other end of the spectrum we have giant nudibranch like the Hexabranchus sanguineus or Spanish dancer, these guys can be seen at night and are a fiery red color. They can grow up to ninety centimeters in length and bust impressive dance moves that would have made Michael Jackson jealous.

There are great opportunities to observe nudibranch behavior on our reefs. The Chamberlin nembrotha seem as sexually active as mandarin fish. You can see a mating pairs curled up together, being hermaphrodites they both pass sperm into each other for about ten minutes before breaking apart. The Chromodoris reticulata has the added skill of a disposable penis which is ideal if his partner starts to nag him to death about the washing up.

Nudibranch eggs can be found on the reef, look out for swirls of tiny egg. Some are more ribbon type which can be white or pinkish in color. To deter predators the eggs are covered by a slime from consumed sea sponges that are toxic.

There are a few species that eat their own kind, this is a pretty gruesome death as some have teeth inside which shred the poor victim making it easier to digest. So there is some information on the attraction of nudibranchs, we hope after reading this you will become a sea slug enthusiast.

You can watch our latest video on nudibranchs to give you just a sample of these amazing creatures. Come and join us at Scandi divers resort to see some with your own eyes.

Video: The Tiny Terror – the blue ringed octopus

blue ringed octopus scandi divers resort puerto galera

Let’s take a closer look at one of our most sought-after critters in Puerto Galera! The blue ringed octopus or more commonly known as ‘the blue ring’ is one of our biggest crowd-pleasers. The scientific name for the octopus is Hapalochlaena maculosa. They grow to around 20 cm in size and weigh a massive 25 grams.

What is really unique is the blue ring is the only venous creature in the world that doesn’t make its own venom. The octopus finds bacteria in the water and stores it within its saliva. If you are a crab that’s in its path while hunting at night then you better look out. The blue ring uses its razor-sharp beak to break into the shell of a crab, it will then basically spit the bacteria contaminated saliva inside the crab and it will become paralyzed making it much easier to eat.  Crabs reading this blog will be quaking in their boots.

The blue ring also has three hearts which pump blue blood around its body. Each octopus has around sixty blue rings on its body. You might have noticed that if the octopus is relaxed then the blue rings are not visible. Only once the octopus is feeling threatened it will flash its vibrant blue rings telling you to back off. There has only been a handful of human deaths from the octopus bite in the entire history of the planet but it can still happen. So, its better to keep your hands to yourself underwater.

This wonder of nature can be found on many dive sites around Puerto Galera. Some hot spots to look for them include giant clams, Fantasea reef and Small la Laguna. They are most active at night time when they are feeding so we recommend doing some night dives with us at Scandi Divers to increase your chances of some blue ring interaction.

Hope you enjoy the video below:

Marine life spotlight – The Flamboyant cuttlefish

Flamboyant cuttlefish scandi divers resort puerto galera

In the latest Scandi Divers blog we’ll have a closer look at one of the most sought after critters in Puerto Galera. The flamboyant cuttlefish with its pulsating colors and mesmerizing movements really grabs your attention. They are basically standing their ground flashing colors at us, telling us that they are the boss and will move for no man. The beauty of this brave behavior is we get a chance to observe it’s behavior. You have excellent opportunities to get great images and video footage as it will stay in the same area. It is probably one of the most photogenic species on the Puerto Galera dive sites.

There are some facts about the flamboyant cuttlefish that are really interesting. Despite growing to around 8cm in size they actually have toxins that are on the same level as its relative the blue ringed octopus. In case you are not sure about the level then think ten thousand times more powerful than cyanide. Luckily for us they and the blue ringed octopus don’t have much interest in eating us so they keep the toxins for the small fish and crustaceans that they feed on.

The flamboyant cuttlefish is very special, it’s one of the few species of cuttlefish that actually walk on the seafloor. They have a rather tragic short life span of just a year. After mating face to face the female will find something like an old coconut shell and lay her eggs one by one, attaching them to the shell with a special glue like substance. Once the eggs hatch the female has completed her life tasks will die shortly afterwards. These cuttlefish can be found on a number of dive sites around PG, the most common places are Giant Clams and Ship Yard.

On your next trip to Scandi Divers our dedicated dive team will try their best to show you one of our favorite critters.

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Creature Feature: The Octopus

octopus creature feature scandi divers resort puerto galera

Octopuses inhabit diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs & the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink & camouflage, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. They trail their eight arms behind them as they swim. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopus, is known to be deadly to humans!

There are many varieties of Octopus in the waters of Puerto Galera, so keep your eyes peeled and see if you can spot one!

Photo credit to Roni from Planet Hero

Creature Feature: The Mimic Octopus

mimic octopus creature feature scandi divers resort puerto galera

Have you ever seen a Mimic Octopus? Masters of disguise who frequent our dive sites here in the Philippines.

Come dive with us and you might just be lucky enough to spot one!

The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is an Indo-Pacific species of octopus capable of impersonating other local species. They are notable for being able to change their skin color and texture in order to blend in with their environment, such as algae-encrusted rock and nearby coral through pigment sacs known as chromatophores. The mimic octopus possesses chromatophores as well as the unique behaviour of taking shape of various objects and animals. The mimic octopus is the only currently known marine animal to be able to mimic such a wide variety of animals. Many animals can imitate a different species to avoid or intimidate predators, but the mimic octopus is the only one that can imitate as diverse a range of forms in order to elude predators.

Source: Wikipedia