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Cool creatures on Manta Sandy dive, Raja Ampat

Manta is Spanish for cloak which refers to their large blanket-shaped bodies; unlike other rays, mantas do not have a spine on their tail for defense

Manta is Spanish for cloak which refers to their large blanket-shaped bodies; unlike other rays, mantas do not have a spine on their tail for defense

Devil scorpionfish; this species is a bottom-dwelling fish and is sometimes partially covered with sediment; it is an ambush predator and feeds on passing prey such as invertebrates and small fish

Devil scorpionfish; this species is a bottom-dwelling fish and is sometimes partially covered with sediment; it is an ambush predator and feeds on passing prey such as invertebrates and small fish

Manta Sandy has a low stone wall that divers kneel behind to watch the mantas come by their cleaning station; it was very crowded with diminished visibility so I can see why the mantas stayed away

Manta Sandy has a low stone wall that divers kneel behind to watch the mantas come by their cleaning station; it was very crowded with diminished visibility so I can see why the mantas stayed away

My diving buddies suggested what this creature might be but I'm not sure exactly what it is; it looks like a tunicate but they typically have two holes and I only saw one here

My diving buddies suggested what this creature might be but I'm not sure exactly what it is; it looks like a tunicate but they typically have two holes and I only saw one here

It was only after we left the usual manta sighting spot that we actually saw some; there was a boat with lots of Chinese divers making this one of the most crowded Raja Ampat dive sites

It was only after we left the usual manta sighting spot that we actually saw some; there was a boat with lots of Chinese divers making this one of the most crowded Raja Ampat dive sites

Cool upside-down jellyfish; this species has a flattened bell so it can easily rest on sediment (hence the name); they have a mild sting since they are primarily photosynthetic

Cool upside-down jellyfish; this species has a flattened bell so it can easily rest on sediment (hence the name); they have a mild sting since they are primarily photosynthetic

Pulsing Xenia coral is an interesting invertebrate in that each extension has small, feathery-like polyps that will contract (pulse) together; the reason for why these corals pulse is still a mystery (thanks Gary for identifying!)

Pulsing Xenia coral is an interesting invertebrate in that each extension has small, feathery-like polyps that will contract (pulse) together; the reason for why these corals pulse is still a mystery (thanks Gary for identifying!)

Giant clam; the small Indonesian island of Mioskon is known for its giant clams that can be 5 feet across and weigh more than 450 lbs; unfortunately, since they are edible, they are being harvested

Giant clam; the small Indonesian island of Mioskon is known for its giant clams that can be 5 feet across and weigh more than 450 lbs; unfortunately, since they are edible, they are being harvested

Sponge-eating nudibranchs concentrate the chemical defenses from their prey in their bodies, rendering themselves distasteful to predators; so they don't have to worry about their bright colors making them stand out

Sponge-eating nudibranchs concentrate the chemical defenses from their prey in their bodies, rendering themselves distasteful to predators; so they don't have to worry about their bright colors making them stand out

Blackblotch lizardifsh; they are small and may look innocent but  their jaws have one or more lines of needle-like teeth; they grab their victims with lightening speed often taking quite large prey

Blackblotch lizardifsh; they are small and may look innocent but their jaws have one or more lines of needle-like teeth; they grab their victims with lightening speed often taking quite large prey

Like some whales, mantas will occasionally breach (I saw it happen!) but scientists don't know why; they have a large brain relative to their body size in comparison to other sharks and rays

Like some whales, mantas will occasionally breach (I saw it happen!) but scientists don't know why; they have a large brain relative to their body size in comparison to other sharks and rays

Clove polyps are a beautiful fast-growing soft coral that are often sold for saltwater aquariums (thanks Mike for identifying this!)

Clove polyps are a beautiful fast-growing soft coral that are often sold for saltwater aquariums (thanks Mike for identifying this!)

Eightband butterflyfish; this species feeds exclusively on coral polyps; not to be outdone, there is the nine-banded armadillo found in Texas and a few lesser places

Eightband butterflyfish; this species feeds exclusively on coral polyps; not to be outdone, there is the nine-banded armadillo found in Texas and a few lesser places

Posted by VagabondCowboy 21:36

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