Estuary Batfish

Haleutia sp

I encountered this intriguing little fellow while on a night dive at a new sight in the Philippines, Mindoro to be exact. The site is the only white sand muck dive that I have ever dived and is proving itself to be worthy with finds like this, the “Estuary Batfish”. The Batfish’s faunal range is described as Local to Indonesia, but im not surprised to find this guy in the Philippines. The Mindoro-Anilao Triangle is fed by rich currents making this area both diverse and unique for marine animal life.
My dive buddy and I were doing our nightly dive when we happened upon this strange looking benthic walker. Disc shaped and very cryptic in coloration, at first it appeared to be a patch of moving sand. After inspecting it closely I observed hydro jets, two sets of walking fins and a wide mouth for gulping its prey. I quickly checked it against my odd creature list in my head and It came to me as to what it was. Our new little buddy was some kind of batfish like the ones I have found in the Galapagos but without the lipstick. Except this Batfish was tiny compared to its cousins.  This new find stumped me at first and I began shooting pics to document the find.
The Batfish kept my full attention for a long while until I finally lost track of it, blending into the sand once again. Finally looking up I see my buddy waving me over for another great find but that’s a different story.

Camera: Nikon D300s
Lens: Sigma 28-80 macro lens
Strobe: YS 250 pro’s

Haleutia sp

Batfish, Blackwater, Anilao
Larval Pancake Batfish

Found on a blackwater dive some 4 miles and across the Verde Island Pass from Mindoro we've been seeing this incredible little guy. Not on the sand but feeding in the water column. After checking and reading about this odd bottom walker, we discovered that it settles to the sand at depths, well beyond that of recreational dive depths.

Camera: Nikon D850
Strobes: Sea and Sea YSD- J2