Why that Flounder Wants to Get a Little Closer
I’ll never forget one of my early muck dives in Lembeh Strait: We were ambling along when we found a cute little long-arm octopus. I love octopus and watching their behavior so I settled in to see if it would do something interesting. As it slowly made its way across the mucky substrate, I vaguely noticed a flounder to my right. I paid no attention as flounders are very common here and I was much more interested in the octopus. A minute later, the flounder was right beside me. “That’s odd, I wonder why this flounder is so friendly?” I remember thinking. As you may have guessed by now, the flounder was less interested in making friends with me, and more interested in making sashimi dinner out of the octopus. Suddenly it lunged at the octopus and in a flurry of sand, a dramatic fight for survival ensued which, to my relief, the octopus won with a narrow escape.
From that moment on, when watching any of the myriad species of octopus we are fortunate enough to see on a regular basis in Lembeh, I keep an eye out for the stealthy flounders and shoo them away if they get too close. The same goes for scorpion fishes, snake eels, wrasses, and many other critters that consider octopus a tasty treat. If we are not there then of course nature will take its course but if we are distracting an octopus, it is unable to concentrate fully on avoiding predators so we have a responsibility to protect it while we watch and take photos.
Did you know you can see at least 10 different species of octopus while scuba diving in Lembeh? See how many you can name without looking it up and then check our Critter Log to find out how many you got and which ones you may have missed!
Written by Critters@Lembeh Dive Manager – Lauren Siba