Clownfish, Philippines. Photo by Stephane Rochon.

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04:45

Jellyfish Lake
Republic of Palau

Benthic fishes including stargazers, flounders and flatheads. Part 13 of my documentary, "Mucky Secrets", about the fascinating marine creatures of the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia. Watch the full 90-minute documentary at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJMZ6reOB0E

After a quick look at the panther grouper, Cromileptes altivelis, also known as the humpback grouper or barramundi cod, I explore demersal fishes, those that live on or near the seabed. Of these, benthic fishes actually rest on the sea floor.

The whitemargin stargazer, Uranoscopus sulphureus, spends most of its time buried in the substrate, with only its upper, or dorsal, surface exposed, where its eyes and mouth are located. Like frogfishes, stargazers are ambush predators. They have a worm-like lure that extends from the upturned mouth to attract fish that pass overhead. Stargazers are also equipped with poisonous spines at the rear of the operculum, the gill cover. The papillae fringing the mouth help stop sand from falling in when the fish is buried.

The leopard flounder, Bothus pantherinus, has adapted to life on the bottom with a superb camouflage. Such lefteye flounders are symmetrical and swim upright like other fishes when young. As they develop, the eye on the right side migrates to the left, thus enabling them to lie flat on the bottom. Their eye stalks can be retracted for protection, but enhance their view when extended.

Flatheads also have excellent camouflage and a stealthy, low profile, but unlike flounders, they are dorsally compressed and remain symmetrical. They are also ambush predators, and often hide by burying much of their body in the substrate. Flatheads are related to scorpionfishes and have short, venomous spines on top of their head.

We meet a Japanese flathead (Inegocia japonica), a black-banded flathead (Rogadius patriciae), and finally a pair of spiny flatheads (Onigocia spinosa) at Retak Larry, a classic, dark sand muck diving site named after the late Lembeh pioneer, Larry Smith.

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 http://www.incompetech.com for the music tracks, "Hidden Agenda" and "Lightless Dawn". 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 (http://www.twofishdivers.com), 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:
http://www.bubblevision.com

I post updates about my videos here:
http://www.facebook.com/bubblevision
http://google.com/+bubblevision
http://www.twitter.com/nicholashope
http://bubblevision.tumblr.com

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

00:00 Birdbeak Burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, TK 2
00:04 Birdbeak Burrfish, Cyclichthys orbicularis, TK 3
00:10 Panther Grouper, Cromileptes altivelis, TK 3
00:29 Whitemargin Stargazer, Uranoscopus sulphureus, Hairball
00:55 Whitemargin Stargazer, Uranoscopus sulphureus, Retak Larry
01:13 Leopard Flounder, Bothus pantherinus, Retak Larry
01:44 Japanese Flathead, Inegocia japonica, Retak Larry
01:52 Black-banded Flathead, Rogadius patriciae, Makawide
02:28 Spiny Flathead, Onigocia spinosa, Retak Larryo: 03:25

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