Reef by night
Once the sun has disappeared under the horizon, the ephemeral twilight lights with subtle nuances color the sky in multiple pastel shades. These colors, reflected on the smooth surface of the waters of Raja Ampat, encourage darkness to spread its coat over the magnificent underwater landscapes of the coral reefs.
The profusion of day life being thus found in the darkness of the night, it is by the thousands that the small inhabitants of the reef rush in the crevices to find refuge there. All the hiding places are good to t spend the night in safety. Everybody is confined !
All? Actually no!
While the majority of the fish rush into their hiding places, some small crea- tures take advantage of the darkness to free themselves from their daytime shyness.
This is particularly the case for certain mollusks such as cephalopods. Composed of squid, octopus and other cuttlefish, these animals come out at night. As voracious as they are fascinating, these extraordinary predators are equipped with the most sophisticated weapons from the animal kingdom.
Cephalopods other than cuttlefish also come out at night to hunt. Cala- mari are also formidable predators. While the cuttlefish always remain near the bottom, the squid occupy the entire water column. Constantly on the lookout, they capture a prey that has the misfortune to pass too close to their tentacles in a flash of a second.
Another species of squid is present at night in the waters of Raja Ampat: The pygmy squid (Idiosepius sp). Measuring no more than 3 centimeters long, it hunts small crustaceans and invertebrates. Be wary, he can also serve as a meal to his cousins who are much bigger than him.
At night, feather stars open and flourish in the dark. These very old animals are invaded by a multitude of shrimps of all kinds, notably the commensal shrimp (laomenes sp) living in symbiosis with its host. The mimicry they have adopted to make themselves invisible makes it very difficult for anyone who wants to photograph one