Snorkeling with a comet in the ocean
In my lifetime, I have seen only two comets, one was Halley’s comet in 1986 and the other was today while free-diving on a reef around Limasawa Island in Sogod Bay, southern Leyte, Philippines. Comets (Calloplesiops altevelis) belong to the lesser-known family of fishes called devilfishes (order Plesiopidae), but why it gets this name is still a bit of a mystery to me. It certainly doesn’t look evil, but by coming out when I was on the surface and hiding when I submerged to get a photo of him might be interpreted as such.
Comets are probably the most popular of the seven species in this family; their remarkable color and shape have made them a highly prized fish in the aquarium trade. It has been suggested that the white spots against a black body and false eye on the back mimic the white-spotted moray eel. It may further this rouse by exhibiting the unusual behavior of facing into a crevice with its rear end facing out. Males do this especially when guarding their eggs. For years I have been hoping to see one of these cryptic and secretive fish and today was my lucky day!