Night Dive at Pulau Hantu

Date November 21, 2012


There’s no time you can’t dive at Pulau Hantu. Some divers even say you’re likely to see more stuff during a night dive at Pulau Hantu than during the day! One thing’s for sure though, is that you’re likely to see a whole bunch of different animals during the night, and even if you do see the same animals as the daytime, then they are likely to be doing something different. We were desperate to find out, especially after not having done a night dive for several months. To kick off our evening of discovery, was a Tambja amukusana nudibranch (above).


It’s a lump of silt. It’s red algae on the move! It’s a spidercrab! The first of many we were to encounter that night! This one has decided it’s going to scavenge around the sandy area, so it’s dressed to match its environment. Yes! They dress themselves! You might think it moves so slow that algae has grown on it, but these crabs are also known as decorator crabs because they clip off bits of organisms from the reef and stick them to their body as a form of camouflage.


Here’s another spidercrab, but this one is decorated with hydroids, because it’s decided to scavenge for food amongst the hydroids.


This was the highlight of my night dive – an unknown nudibranch. Unknown to me at least. It was creeping about deep within a crevice underneath a coral head. It was very well hidden but its red colours gave it away as it crept across a yellow-coloured Porities coral. Chay Hoon, a nudibranch enthusiast, reckons it might be Trapania sp. Unfortunately, we don’t have a better picture. The photo above has already been blown up. It was very small.


This little Reef Cuttlefish above has distorted its skin to mimic the uneven surface of the reef. Night time is a choice time for several predators to come out on the reef to hunt…


…That might be because it’s also the time several yummy, tasty, critters like this shrimp choose to come out to forage.


When threatened, shrimp will try to quickly bury themselves into the sand…


The Crocodile flathead is another creature that will bury into the sand to remain hidden from predators, but also to ambush unsuspecting prey.


There were some bizarre anemones…


A pair of Squat lobster nymphs were found clinging onto a sponge. When they grow up, they will start to have bright colours to match the appearance of the Crinoids they will be living with. But for now, best to make like a sponge.


Not all animals try to remain hidden. Some seem to advertise their presence, like the nudibranchs and flatworms above.


Saron shrimp truly are a treat to encounter on our reef.


Cowries and snails were also on the prowl. While were some content to feed on little microorganisms, others were looking for “bigger fish to fry”.


In the middle of the seabed, amongst the whip corals, were a pair of Stick pipefish feeding on little bits of marine snow. We only managed to do two dives, but for most of us, I think we didn’t want to come out of the water because there was so much activity around us! Pulau Hantu’s reef really does come alive at night!

To see more photos from this dive, please visit the Hantu Blog Gallery.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>