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Undersea Camouflage: Do You See It?

Marine Life medium11th edition of Marine Life monthly post. This month I published earlier than its regular date, the 19th, due to my travel schedule. It aims to share information on specific marine life species and to promote their conservation. All images are taken by Indah Susanti.

National Geographic has listed 11 marine species as the Masters of Undersea Camouflage, however, there are more marine species that have capabilities to camouflage. I am not a marine biologist but I have been observing some marine species during my dives on how they camouflage to their surrounding. They camouflage through several methods such as mimesis, distraction on their body lines or adaptive coloration. I found numerous interesting marine species that have unique camouflage but I will limit to five species for this post, and here goes my list:

1. Hippocampus bargibanti

This species is not easy to spot because of its well camouflage. Hippocampus bargibanti also known as bargibanti pygmy seahorse. It lives in the gorgonian corals (sea fan) and camouflage very well to the colors of the corals. Sincerely, I managed to see the pygmy seahorse with the help of our dive guides. I don’t understand why Bargibanti is not in National Geographic’s list because its camouflage is very effective. (Images were taken in North Sulawesi, Indonesia)

2. Flounder Fish

It is a family to the flatfish species. It is side-swimmer fish and a bottom-dwellers. Its two eyes located in one side and both eyes could move around right and left, up and down  – well, that’s how I felt when observing this fish. It was bit awkward to see how fish eyes could circling around, just like a cartoon movie. This is an exceptional fish and I promise myself not to eat this fish. It camouflaged through color adaption to hide from its predator or when about to jump on its prey. It can move very fast! (Images were taken in Bonaire and the Philippines)

3. Whip Coral Gobies

The whip coral gobies species are usually found on gorgonian sea whips or black corals and lay their eggs on the corals. The gobies camouflage as according to their host colors. Just watch out on this type of whip corals, you may find these gobies or you may not find them 😉 (Images were taken in Raja Ampat, Indonesia)

4. Sea Moth

Be careful when stepping on the sea sandy bottom, you may step on these bottom dwellers.  This sea bottom-dweller has odd-looks and its color skin can change to match the sea bottom color. The sea moths are monogamous. It is usually spotted together with its pair, if you only see a sea moth alone then most likely its pair has successfully camouflaged. ((Images were taken in the Philippines)

5. Anker Shrimp

Its biology name is Pontonides ankeri. Its host is similar to the whip coral gobies, its transparent body will change its colors according to its host. Sometimes we can see two shrimps on the same corals. It is the tiniest shrimp I have ever seen. (Images were taken in Raja Ampat, Indonesia)


Now, let’s test how sharp your eyes in finding pygmy seahorse in gorgonian corals. My apology for the image, it is not my best shot. There are Bargibanti pygmy seahorses on the image.  Can you find two seahorses? I spotted at least two seahorses, and please do let me know if you find more than two.

Just click the image for the high-resolution image to help you in finding the seahorses. Good luck!

Click for Higher Resolution Image

Click for higher resolution image to find the seahorse (at least two seahorses)

12 small



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