Octopus mating at Atmosphere resort Philippines. Photo by Daniel Norwood

It’s Valentines Day! On land many couples will be celebrating with chocolates, roses, a romantic dinner, and a little bit of…  Beneath the waves, things are done a little differently; sex changing fish, penis fencing, and consuming your mate – making our human antics look pretty mundane! Innocent little Nemo? Of all the world’s animals, fish are the most ‘sexually fluid’, switching from male to female (protandrous), or female to male (protogynous). Clown (or anemonefish) are a famous example. With only one large female in each anemone, the next largest fish is the leading lady’s baby-daddy. However, when she ‘pops her …

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12 critters of christmas

In the countdown to Christmas, Atmosphere is celebrating the incredible diversity of amazing critter species we can find along Dauin’s coastline! Here are some of our favourite critters … 1. The ambon scorpionfish (Pteroidichthys amboinensis) This sedentary scorpionfish is top of the list for many muck divers. To enhance its camouflaging abilities it gathers drifting algae, making it incredibly difficult to spot. Then, once it has had enough, it sheds the outer layer of skin and starts all over again. 2. The candy crab (Hoplophrys oatesi) This cryptic crab, also known as a soft coral crab, is the only species …

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I recently wrote about my 14 month-long search for the elusive greater blue-ringed octopus and the running joke that my bad luck had become in the dive centre. However, it’s as though they heard my cry. Just a couple of weeks later I SAW MY FIRST ONE! Joining guests who were sympathetic to my status as a bad luck charm, I ventured out with my camera and a small bubble of hope that this may be the day. Just 10 minutes into the dive our guide Sai put out the ‘I’ve found something’ noise of “ding, ding, ding” and gestured …

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Blue-ringed octopus at Atmosphere Resorts & Spa Philippines - photo by Don Tan

I’ve been Atmosphere Resorts & Spa’s marine conservation biologist for 14 months now and I dive regularly. In fact, it’s unusual to see me with dry hair. Coming from a coral reef and megafauna (the BIG stuff) background, many of our critters I’ve excitedly encountered for the first time. However, there is one particular little 8-armed guy that I have yet to set my eyes on – the elusive (I recon “mythical”) greater blue-ringed octopus. Octopus can pop up at many of our dive sites. However, we have one particular site which, at certain times of the year, is your best bet …

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A popcorn shrimp in its mushroom coral, photo by Daniel Gearyat Atmosphere Resort Philippines

Last month our marine biologist, Kirsty Richards, launched the new (and exclusive) PADI Critters Specialty course at Atmosphere. I’ve always loved collecting things, whether it is Polaroid photographs, Pokémon cards or PADI Specialties. When I discovered that at the end of this particular specialty, I’d be better able to find a spotted porcelain crab, or an ornate ghost pipefish – I was sold. Despite being in from the get-go, I had to patiently wait my turn as the course has been an instant hit at Atmosphere. Marine Biology 101 One balmy October evening, we communed for the first part of …

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