20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World

While scuba diving on a blackwater dive in the Philippines, this creature was rippling towards me from out in the deep. At first I thought it was a Spanish Dancer nudibranch, but it turns out to be a Blue flatworm, Pseudocerotidae sp 34. These creatures are normally found grazing about the sea floor. One might expect them to be curled up in a safe den under the sand hidden from predators at night. Of course on a black water dive, we are now seeing other behaviors that we didn't know occurred because we weren't really looking. One would not expect this to be free swimming during the vertical migration, as that is just begging to be snagged as a meal by another. On the other hand, they might think it is safe to travel in stealth mode under the cover of night.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 05.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Anilao, Philippines
Camera: NIKON D500
Copyright: © Susan Meldonian