Big eye, Philippines. Photo by Stephane Rochon.

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San Andres 2012
Las Piedras de Carlitos dive site (deep dive)
Banda Dive 
07-02-12 02:41

Las Piedras

LOV Calypso - Neptunusduik 2010 04:19

Slag Baardmannetje



Boxfishes, puffers and porcupinefishes. Part 12 of my documentary, "Mucky Secrets", about the fascinating marine creatures of the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. Watch the full 90-minute documentary at

In this video I look at fishes in the order Tetraodontiformes. First of all we encounter a very young boxfish, possibly a longhorn cowfish, Lactoria cornuta. Along with toxic skin, the boxfish's main defence is a very hard carapace of bony plates. The juvenile's coloration helps it remain unnoticed while the body hardens.

Next is a juvenile thornback cowfish, Lactoria fornasini, sheltering in Halimeda algae. Juvenile boxfishes and pufferfishes often tuck their tail to one side when it is not needed for swimming.

Next we meet a juvenile starry puffer, Arothron stellatus, and its dramatically different adult counterpart.

Although puffers are slow movers, the tail can give them a great turn of speed when threatened. As a further defence, puffers can inflate their bodies with water, vastly increasing their size and revealing short, sharp spines on their skin.

They are believed to be the second most poisonous vertebrate on earth, after the golden poison frog. However some predators can tolerate the toxin, and some parts of them are carefully prepared as a delicacy in Japan, Korea and China.

The juvenile guineafowl puffer, Arothron meleagris, has a black and yellow coloration that advertises its toxicity to potential predators. This is a common combination of warning colors in the animal kingdom.

More elongate puffers are found in the Lembeh Strait too. We encounter a narrow-lined puffer, Arothron manilensis, at Hairball and a shortfin puffer, Torquigener brevipinnis, at TK.

Sharpnose puffers, also known as tobies, have elongated snouts and slimmer bodies. We meet at a Valentini puffer, Canthigaster valentini, a Bennett's sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster bennetti, and a compressed toby, Canthigaster compressa.

The birdbeak burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, is a type of porcupinefish. It is covered in spines which are permanently erect, and it can inflate its body like puffers. It's eyes contain iridescent green specks.

Conversely, the spines of the long-spine porcupinefish, Diodon holocanthus, lie flat against its body when not it is not inflated.

Finally we encounter a long-spine porcupinefish sharing its home with a small birdbeak burrfish.

There are English captions showing either the full narration or the common and scientific names of the marine life, along with the dive site names.

The full Mucky Secrets nature documentary features a huge diversity of weird and wonderful marine animals including frogfish, nudibranchs, scorpionfish, crabs, shrimps, moray eels, seahorses, octopus, cuttlefish etc..

Thanks to Kevin MacLeod of for the music tracks, "Hidden Agenda" and "Sneaky Snitch". These tracks are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Thanks to the staff and keen-eyed divemasters of Two Fish Divers (, for accommodation, diving services and critter-spotting.

The video was shot by Nick Hope with a Sony HVR-Z1P HDV camera in a Light & Motion Bluefin HD housing with Light & Motion Elite lights and a flat port. A Century +3.5 diopter was used for the most of the macro footage.

I have more scuba diving videos and underwater footage on my website at:

I post updates about my videos here:

Full list of marine life and dive sites featured in this video:

00:00 Juvenile Longhorn Cowfish (tentative), Lactoria cornuta, TK 1
00:20 Thornback Cowfish (juvenile), Lactoria fornasini, Aer Perang
00:33 Starry Puffer (juvenile), Arothron stellatus, Retak Larry
00:41 Starry Puffer, Arothron stellatus, TK 3
00:52 Map Puffer, Arothron mappa, Two Fish Divers house reef
01:15 Guineafowl Puffer (juvenile), Arothron meleagris, Tanjung Kusu-Kusu
01:32 Narrow-lined Puffer, Arothron manilensis, Hairball
01:45 Shortfin Puffer, Torquigener brevipinnis, TK 2
01:57 Valentini Puffer, Canthigaster valentini, Retak Larry
02:11 Bennett's Sharpnose Puffer, Canthigaster bennetti, Makawide
02:18 Compressed Toby, Canthigaster compressa, Two Fish Divers house reef
02:26 Birdbeak Burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, Jahir
02:54 Long-spine Porcupinefish, Diodon holocanthus, TK 2
03:13 Birdbeak Burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, TK 2
03:21 Birdbeak Burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, TK 3 03:51

Teluk Kembahu 2

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