As divers we get used to or are at least familiar with the colors, textures, shapes and sizes of certain species. Mantas are generally black and white with similar patterns on the back and belly, leaf scorpion fish are most common in their yellow/green variation and the bargibanti pigmy sea horses are almost always somewhere between pink and purple. Every now and then though you come across a species of fish, shark or ray where nature has styled it in an unusual color variation, and even though you have seen this particular species hundreds of times to see it in a different color spectrum is like you’ve just re-discovered the species for the first time.
Here in Komodo manta rays look like stealth bombers as they appear suddenly out of the dark blue depths in their jet black variation. The black variation in reef mantas is quite common throughout Komodo and the Indonesian waters and guests who have dived other popular manta places in the world are always thrilled at seeing the all black mantas because Indonesia is one of the few places where the all black reef mantas exist. As Mermaid II cruises deeper into the Komodo season more and more leaf scorpion fish are being found, and it seems that for every four pineapple yellow ones found there is the much less common purple one sitting close by. This ratio holds true also for the bargibanti sea horses only with the yellow pigmys being the rarity and the purple being the norm. These three species however are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to unusual color variations
Mermaid II Sep 5-12, 2015
By Alex Lindbloom