Bali marine life


Welcome to Southern Dreams Diving Club blog, where we want to share all our knowledge about marine life, as well as photos and videos we have been taken during all our dives in Bali.

Did you know that….?

Located in the heart of the Triangle of the coral reef, Bali has over 393 species of coral and also 952 species of reef fish.

Bali is surrounded by not one, but two oceans, creating unique biodiversity. It is a successful recipe for an amazing dive experience!

The island offers some of the best dive sites in the world. In fact, around the island, divers find everything from rare macro critters to fascinating pelagic species, like for example the majestic manta rays, Bali has it all!

Marine Life in Bali

Mola mola – Fun facts

Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Mola mola is the heaviest bony fish in the world reaching over  2,000 kgs in weight and over 4 meters from top to bottom and 3 meters wide!

Ocean sunfish go through the most extreme size growth of any vertebrate. From the time they hatch as little baby fish to full-grown adults, their weight increases by over 600 million times.

Female sunfish holds the record for the greatest number of eggs of any vertebrate! In fact, sometimes one female had over 300 million eggs. That is to say more than any vertebrate in the world.

Its brain is very small, even smaller than one of its two kidneys. 

Sunfish love sunbathing!

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Manta Ray – Fun facts

Marine life in Bali. Scuba diving with manta rays
Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Marine life in Bali

Manta rays, one of the largest fish in the world, are majestic, calm, peaceful, and unique-looking fish.

The giant manta ray is the largest species of ray. In fact, the largest known specimen was more than 7 meters across and weighed more than 2 tons.

Mantas have two sets of gills and must swim continuously to keep oxygenated water passing to breathe.

They have one of the highest brain-to-body mass ratios and the largest brain size of all fish.

Unlike other rays, manta’s tail has lost its venomous sting for defence.

“Manta” means blanket or cloak in Spanish, describing the look of the animals’ large, flat, diamond-shaped bodies.

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Seahorse – Fun facts

Marine life in Bali. Seahorse
Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Seahorse is essentially monogamist. And even more, they take courtship very seriously!

Males are the ones carrying the eggs in their pouch. Therefore, they are also the ones giving birth. As soon as the babies are born they are on their own, completely independent.

Seahorse has no stomach or teeth, so they eat by sucking their food up through their snout. As a matter of fact, they have to eat constantly so they don’t starve.

Seahorse has excellent eyesight! Even more, their eyes can work independently on either side of their head.

They are masters of camouflage. Seahorse can change colour very quickly to match any surroundings in which it finds itself.

Seahorse is a poor swimmer. As a matter of fact, they stay in the same territory most of their lives.

They have a prehensile tail that allows them to anchor themselves despite strong currents.

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Pygmy seahorse – Fun facts

Bargibanti pygmy seahorse

Pygmy is the smallest species of seahorse in the world.

The first pygmy seahorse was not found in the sea but in a laboratory. It happened in 1969, in Australia, and, completely accidentally. While studying gorgonian muricella, a scientist found two tiny bargibanti seahorses.

It was the following year when they were scientifically catalogued for the first time.

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Humphead parrotfish – Fun facts

Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Humphead parrotfish is the largest and also the heaviest of all parrotfish species. In fact, it can weigh up to 46 kilograms and reach a length of 1.3 meters! 

It changes colour and sex repeatedly throughout its lives and also, develops a hump on its foreheads as it matures.

Humphead parrotfish use a ­homemade pyjama! To clarify, they encapsulate themselves in a cocoon of mucus at night. Scientists think the cocoon masks their scent, making them harder for nocturnal predators, like for example sharks, to find.

It has two sets of teeth. The front teeth are fused and shaped like a beak. It allows them to scrape off pieces of coral and also other food. On the other hand, it has inner pharyngeal teeth to crush the food once it’s in its mouth.

They eat primarily algae extracted from chunks of coral ripped from a reef. In fact, the hard material that does not provide nutritious food for them is pulverised and passed like feces. To clarify, yes, they poop sand. In fact, much of the sand in the parrotfish’s range is actually the ground-up, undigested coral they excrete.

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Frogfish – Fun facts

Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Frogfish are masters of camouflage, being able to change colour and also form.

Unlike many animals that use camouflage as a defence from predators, frogfish mostly use their abilities to attract prey. Many can also grow hair and become ‘Hairy Frogfish’… it is not a species in itself!

Frogfish love fishing! When frogfish are hungry they wave a lure they have in front of their head to attract small fish and shrimps to come closer. 

The lure can re-grow if it is damaged or destroyed.

Their attack is amongst the fastest in the world, being able to trap prey in 0.006 seconds! 

A frogfish’s mouth can expand to 12 times its resting size. These fish do not have teeth and therefore have to swallow their prey whole.

Female frogfish will produce between 40,000 and 180,000 eggs at one time.

Frogfish swims by jet propulsion.

Female frogfish are much larger than males. While males don’t grow bigger than a few cm, females can grow up to 10 times the size.

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Clownfish – Fun Facts

Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

Clownfish is also known as anemonefish because it lives in sea anemones, with which it maintains a symbiotic relationship.

It is hermaphrodite. The clownfish are born male and can become female if the occasion requires it. Basically, when the female dies, it happens to occupy its reproductive place and ensure the survival of the species.

Clownfish live in a hierarchical society in which the female is the largest of all and the largest male will be the only one who can mate with her.

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Turtle – Fun facts

Marine life in Bali, scuba diving with turtles
Video credit: Ludovic Amevor

These ancient creatures have been on Earth for more than 100 million years, even surviving the dinosaurs. 

They are solitary, nomadic and adventurous animals and can be found all around the world.

Sea turtles mate at sea before the females go ashore on beaches to lay their eggs. Males stay in the water all the time, they rarely go to the beach unless they have a complication.

It is estimated that only one out of 1,000 hatchlings survives to be an adult.

Sea turtles cannot retract into their shell-like other turtles for protection.

Turtles can hold their breath for a long time.

The temperature of a sea turtle’s nest is key to determining the sex of the young.

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Marine Life in Bali

Nudibranchs – Fun facts

Marine life in Bali, nudibranch

Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine gastropod molluscs that are part of the sea slug family.

There are nudibranchs in virtually every colour and colour scheme, and they are extremely pretty and popular with divers.

There are more than 3,000 species and we can divide them into two main types: the dorian nudibranchs and the aeolidáceans.

Nudibranchs see the world through their rhinophores.

The name nudibranch actually means naked gills. Which refers to the exposed gills that sprout out of their backs and are completely exposed and in direct contact with the water.

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Sharks – Fun facts. Bali marine life

Marine life in Bali, diving with sharks

Sharks have inhabited our oceans for more than 400 million years. They have survived the 5 great extinctions that have taken place on Earth, including the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Since then and until today, these fish have evolved in surprising ways.

They are extraordinary animals with an anatomy that does nothing but improve over time. Sharks are master hunters with incredible precision. They are found at the top of the food chain and are essential for maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems.

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Would you like to learn more about marine life in Bali? More articles coming soon! Here you can watch some videos in advance!

Marine life in Bali – Blue-Ringed Octopus

Marine life in Bali – Blue-ringed octopus

Marine life in Bali – Giant Moray Eel

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