The Flamboyant Cuttlefish – just by the name you can tell he will be a bit of a show off, and this small brightly colour critter is certainly that!
Everyone has a wish list in diving, a place they want to dive, a shark they want to dive with and in my case a long list of critters and nudibranch’s I want to photograph. This little cuttlefish was on a list of mine for quite a long time because he is somewhat shy, small and very well camouflaged (that is before he starts dancing).
So there I was getting ready for another long shore dive in Dumaguete, Philippines. World renowned for its ‘muck’ diving, the region is charaterised by sloping sand banks filled and home to an abundance of underwater critters. ‘Muck’ diving is different to any other sort of diving, very slowly you drift while your eyes dart wildly over the sandy bottom trying to spot anything that looks out of place in the vast open emptiness, it take a few days to get your eyes in, but the guides at Atlantis Resort must have x-ray vision, they can spot everything, then when your busy trying to take a shot of a camera shy seahorse they are off the surrounding area scouting out the next underwater creature that has adapted its self to this baron landscape.
Dumaguete is part of the Visayas Island province, it lies off the south east coast of Negros Island, right in the middle of the Philippines and central to the coral triangle. Negros is located is part of a chain of volcanic islands which makes for beautiful top side vistas and weird but wonderful underwater marine life, offering surely some of the finest diving to be found anywhere in the Philippines.
Walking over the pebbles and dark sand into the crystal clear clam waters, its just me Ben and our dive Guide ‘Ari’, I had my wish list in mind and camera at the ready. Such a relaxing way to dive, no other divers in sight, just a quick wave and giggle from a couple of young local kids on shore and down we go.
Ari spotted something and made a noise to on his tank to attract my attention, I slowly swam over, eyes looking at the end of the metal pointer, I couldn’t see anything for a while, very well camouflaged in the sand below was a brown cuttlefish around 6cm long, I just knew it straight away and started squealing through my reg.
The flamboyant cuttlefish caught sight of us and started is magnificent display of colours, what was once light sandy brown was now changing from yellow, red, white and black like a kids kaleidoscope. Then the show really starts, dancing across the sand this poisonous cuttlefish is displaying bright red colouration to ward off us, his would-be predators. Its skin went from smooth to bumpy also to make his self look dangerous , I have never seen anything like this before, what an amazing way to show off! This species is active during the day and employs the same complex and varied camouflage that he has shown us to stalk its prey of fish and crustaceans.
I took quite a few photos but I think the video footage really shows how is tiny cuttlefish has made its self seem bigger and a force to be reckoned with in these Indo-pacific waters, and why every diver should have the Flamboyant cuttlefish on there wish list!
What to go diving in Dumaguete and get face to face with amazing critters? Why not get in touch on 0800 955 0180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share our tips and suggestions.0