It has been a fantastic Komodo season so far for all kinds of rays especially Manta Rays. Often forgotten are the numerous encounters with Mobula and Eagle Rays, sometimes Cownose Rays and Whiptail Stingrays, which come in whole groups sitting on the sandy bottom.
Regardless of the unforgettable manta encounters, there is some other marine species which we get to see on a frequent basis at the moment: the Mimic Octopus as well as Wonderpus. Usually quite rare and hard to find, these two mesmerising species have been spotted now several times in just one day or even dive!
Sangeang Volcano and the black sand surrounding the island has always made it exceptionally great for macro and muck diving. Hunting for little critters and creatures at Deep Purple, I out of the sudden discover two eyes in between some black and white coloured arms staring at me – a Wonderpus completely out of its hole, wandering around on the sea bed with some real acrobatic moves.
Just a few hours later heading off for our sunset dive, I stumble across a very similarly looking creature with stripy arms, another Wonderpus? Although Wonderpus and Mimic Octopus very much look alike, there are some easy features to distinguish one from another. The stripes already look different: the ones of the Wonderpus have sharp boarders whereas the ones of the Mimic Octopus look more like painted. Wonderpus do not have the characteristic white line which a Mimic has at the sides of each arm and tends to be more redish-brown in color, not as dark brown as the Mimic. And last but not least let us have a look at the head: whereas the eyes of a Wonderpus are perfectly V-shaped, the Mimic Octopus’ eyes are almost straight or parallel to each other.
Actually, fish identification in this case might be a bit overrated, better watch either Wonderpus or Mimic perform their magic if you are lucky enough to bump into one one day!
Mermaid I Bali-K0m0d0-Bali
July 17 – 26, 2016