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Ever heard of crocodile? you must know that. Ever heard of fish? bet you are. What about Crocodile fish? bet some of you don't even have any idea about it.
People name it as crocodile fish because it looks like crocodile at a glance, long mouth, round eyes stare to the front, long body, looks lazy just lay down on the sand, those are some facts that maybe people use it to relate with common land crocodile. Refer to wikipedia, it has several names: Papilloculiceps longiceps, Platycephalus grandidieri, or Platycephalus papilloculus. If you like to know the name detail, here it is:
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Actinopterygii
Order : Scorpaeniformes
Family : Platycephalidae
Genus : Papilloculiceps
Species : P. longiceps
You can find some great information also in Fishbase website about this unique creature.
As an object for underwater photographer, this fish is very nice. I mean it, as it just sit down nicely underwater stand still wait for us to take its picture. Okay, before take it, we need to find it. Commonly we can find it on the sandy bottom or rock, it doesn't matter if it is sea bed or on wall. What I meant by on wall here means you can find it on wall dive where the position is vertical, it lands on small cave or small niche. This fish will choose places where the micro environment can cover its existence. So you need take a look at its picture first to get the idea of its body's motif. It will be easy to understand then.
Crocodile fish has mix color between brown, green, grey, really ideal as a camouflage with their habitat. It needs to blend with the environment, as this fish considers as a predator, who sit patiently and silently for the victim's passing by. It is carnivorous, so it will eat other fish as long as the size of the victim fits with its ''crocodile'' mouth. As a hunter, they have eye lappets, which help to break up the outline of the iris and improve camouflage, and can reach a length of 70 centimeters.
When you found it, get close slowly and carefully. I never get attacked by this fish, but try to always be alert and respect it. In case anything happen, it will hit my port of underwater housing first. Get close from the front, as its face is one of the Point Of Interest (POI) for picture. I like to take portrait picture, with enough depth of field to cover only its front lips until the eyes, looks great.
The other POI is by taking picture from the side of its body, closely to its eyes. Try to aim the light direction from your strobe to its eye ball, it will reflects on its eye-ball, created very unique motif. Even more if you use macro lens to do this. The pattern is awesome.
or take the concave curve of its lens...
How if you are too close? off course this fish will swim very fast, go away from your sight, and usually it swim to the front (directly to you..!!) then turn left or right (so won't hit you). Don't be worry, it usually doesn't go quite far. It just look for another safer place. Observe its movement, then get closer again. However, please don't make it stress. As a good diver we got to respect the nature and think about the next diver, if the fish stress it will always run away if it sees divers. It's not good for other underwater photographer :-)
Until today, we found it around Tinabo Island underwater so many times, around 5-20 meters depth. It has length around 20-40 centimeters, with width around 10-20 centimeters. It's big enough to be observed.
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