Welcome to CritterWatch!

critter noun: crit·ter \ˈkri-tər \ – a peculiar, unusual and frequently tiny marine creature of immense fascination to scuba divers

A weekly review of weird and wonderful sightings at Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort.

Everyone likes to see the big and spectacular marine creatures like whales, sharks, mantas, turtles and the like. Who doesn’t? However, not every dive is blessed with a visit from one of these magnificent animals, and when you start to cast your eyes downwards to the sand, grass, rocks or corals, you may see (with the help of our excellent guides….) some pretty small, but nonetheless spectacular creatures. These are critters, and the shores of Dauin and Apo Island are literally crawling with them.

Each week, we will share with you some of the many sightings of the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, and the frankly weird critters to be found just under the waves. Please enjoy, comment, like and share!

Mantis Shrimp

13. The eyes have it

We still have much to understand about how Critters view their home under the waves.  Some eyeball designs suggest they see the world much as we do, whilst others suggest super-hero-like vision.  Let's focus this week (bad pun) on Critter…
David Gilchrist - Persian Carpet Flatworm

12. Not all worms are wiggly

Critters in the sea often bear very little resemblance to their earth-bound namesakes.  Flatworms are a case in point.  They are far from the pink, wiggly sausage-like creatures found in your lawn.  Rather, they are a very ancient and basic…
Varicose Wartslug

11. Slugs, Hares, Warts and all

Some of the genuinely weirdest Critters in Daiun are Sea Slugs.  Doesn't sound too exciting?  Think again!  Sea Slugs are nothing like the dull black slimy pest you may know from the garden. Sea Slugs look like they've been designed by a…
IMG_9415_ed_72_wm

10. Can a Fish be a Critter?

Can a fish be a Critter?  We don't see why not, especially when it's a Scorpionfish.  With a bewildering number of species in this family, the things they have in common are a love of camouflage, striking their prey quickly and defending themselves…
IMG_7439_ed_wm

9. Cuttlefish Chameleons

Cuttlefish are very clever creatures.  Controlling 8 arms, 2 tentacles and 3 hearts takes one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates.  They can they change their colours and texture in a flash, to match the seabed they…
Roberto Frattorola - Girdled Glossodoris

8. Our Guests Nudi too

Following last week's popular Nudi CritterWatch, here's this week's dosage of slug action courtesy of Jane Doherty, Shona McKenzie and David Gilchrist who together with a happy band of divers, got lots of slug action with us in Dauin recently. …
IMG_6975_ed_72wm

7. Do you Nudi?

Nudibranchs (pronounced noody-branks) are an underwater photographer's dream.  Bizarre shapes, fantastical colours and an inability to move particularly quickly make for very popular subjects.  But they are much more than oceanic eye-candy.…
IMG_7501_ed_wm

6. Frogfish Chorus

Frogfish are some of the most sought-after critters on the Dauin coast, with good reason. Big gaping frog-like mouths allow them to suck in fish almost the same size as themselves with a muscle reflex which is one of the fastest in the animal…
Ambon Crinoid Shrimp

5. Shrimps are for life, not just barbecues

Shrimps are some of the tidiest critters around.  If they are not burrowing out neat networks of tunnels, they can be found tickling around the fearsome mouth of a Moray Eel cleaning its teeth or sweeping up around Sea Cucumber bottoms.  …
Porcelain Crab

4. Feeling crabby?

Feeling crabby? Quite often overlooked on the dive in preference to flashier species, crabs are very ancient, and some of the best camouflaged creatures in the sea, and are therefore very cool.  Decorator crabs adorn themselves with bits of…
Ornate Ghost Pipefish

3. Are Ghost Pipefish scary?

Are Ghost Pipefish scary? No, not really, unless you are an unsuspecting tiny crustacean. They are cousins of the Seahorse family, and they are very good at hiding in plain view, floating head down, and ambushing the poor little things that…
IMG_3996_ED_72_wm

2. How do you find a Pygmy Seahorse?

How do you find a Pygmy Seahorse? The Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti) is one of the most difficult critters to find. They are smaller than a little fingernail, live on sea fans, and from their earliest stages of life, encourage the…
IMG_9527_ed_72

1. Octopus's Garden

Octopus's New Garden! An amazing variety of these 8-legged lovelies inhabit the sandy slopes of Dauin's shores. Here are just a few we've seen this week. Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunalata) Their venom is thought…