The Diverse Marine Life of Bunaken Marine Park
Bunaken Marine Park has an incredible variety of marine life. On our wall dives we can find the hugest tuna, right down to the tiniest sea horses, while on our muck diving sites we can find some of the craziest critters that dwell under the oceans. Of all the bizarre creatures that you can see while diving Bunaken, the strangest has to be the various member of the Cephalopod family, and in particular, the Cuttlefish.
Unveiling the Fascinating World of Cuttlefish
Cuttlefish, despite their name, are not fish. They are closely related to squid, octopus and nautiluses. Cuttlefish have eight arms, two tentacles complete with suckers that they use to grab their prey, and large ‘W’ shaped pupils. They also possess a unique internal shell, which is known scientifically as the ‘cuttlebone’. There are 120 known species of cuttlefish found across the worlds oceans, ranging from just 15cm length, to a whopping half a metre, not including its tentacles!
The Marvel of Cuttlefish Coloration and Abilities
Like many members of the Cephalopod family, cuttlefish have the incredible ability to change the coloration of their skin to blend in with their environment. Although they lack colour vision, they can create complex patterns, which can blend in almost perfectly with the surrounding substrate. The exact mechanism behind this is not yet completely known, as they have even been observed utilizing this ability in complete darkness. There are many reasons why they possess this incredible ability; they use it as a method of communicating with one another, as a diematic display to warn of would be predators, as a way to ambush unsuspecting prey, and as an escape method if a predator were to go for them.
Captivating Encounters: Observing Cuttlefish in Their Habitat
We often spot different varieties of cuttlefish at many of our muck diving sites, or on night dives around some of Bunaken’s fantastic wall dives. Recently a few of our guests were lucky enough to witness a juvenile cuttlefish hatch from its egg. Even luckier was the fact that they are a group of professional videographers, and they happened to have their full underwater video camera with them. The footage is absolutely stunning; you can even check it out for yourself!
Exploring North Sulawesi: A Cephalopod Paradise for Divers
If finding Cephalopods is your thing, then diving North Sulawesi should be a top priority for you. In Bunaken Marine Park we can find numerous species, including the beautiful flamboyant cuttlefish, and octopus species such as the mimic, the wonderpus, and the blue ringed. Only a short distance away, diving Manado Bay (that has muck diving Lembeh style) and Bangka also offers fantastic opportunities to spot many of these incredible creatures.
video by Cesare Largo