Have You Met These Marine Animals Inhabiting Philippine Waters?
Gari Sy Rivera | June 05, 2020
Oceans all around the world serve as homes to marine animals, and the Philippine oceans are no exception! Different life forms that are beautiful and incredibly unique can be found in our spectacular blue waters. All these inhabitants must be protected along with our oceans! Let’s meet a few and learn a bit more about them.
Manta Rays are the largest species of rays and are one of the largest among all the fish in the sea. They have flat, diamond-shaped bodies that soar gracefully underwater. They are seen all year round in the Philippines, scattered among different areas such as Occidental Mindoro, Boracay, Palawan, Masbate, and more.
Whale Sharks are the second-largest fish in the whole world. These slow-moving, wide, and fascinating swimmers can be found all year round in the Philippines in a few places, with seasonal appearances in different areas such as Donsol in Sorsogon, Palawan, and Southern Leyte. Whale sharks can also be found in Oslob, Cebu, where tourists get the opportunity to swim and feed the gentle giants in the wild. This practice, however, is not advisable by many groups and organizations that advocate the preservation of marine life and animal welfare. Studies have shown that constant interaction with humans disrupts their natural behavioral and migratory patterns. Is the joy of interacting with these globally endangered gentle giants well worth the harm that it inflicts on them? Just knowing they’re present and safe in our waters should be more than enough for us today!
Pelagic Thresher Shark
Known as strong swimmers and breachers, leaping in and out of the water, Pelagic Thresher Sharks are said to be seen almost every day at the island of Malapascua in Daanbantayan, Cebu. Rarely seen all year round anywhere else in the world, these sharks are actually not aggressive and are known to swim alongside tourists and locals peacefully.
One of the smallest vertebrates in the whole world, you need sharp eyes to spot these tiny seahorses who frolick in the Philippine waters of Bohol, Laguna, Dauin in Negros Oriental, and more as their home. Other than it’s notable size, Pygmy Seahorses are known for their snouts and fleshy bodies, living within corals in the ocean. All but one of the seven Pygmy Seahorse species are said to be found in the Philippines.
Dugong sea cows are critically endangered marine habitats known as “farmers of the sea”. These smiley, gentle giants peacefully graze on seagrass mostly in Coron of Northern Palawan today. Threatened in its number worldwide due to the problem of ocean trash, Dugongs and their preservation are already in the forefront of global conservation efforts.
One of the largest reef fishes in the world, Mamengs, also known as Napoleon Wrasse, are endangered fishes that have notable distinctive features such as mumped-like foreheads and chromatic colors mostly of blue and green. Recently spotted in the waters of Palawan in 2019, the species has already been identified as a concern in multiple countries for its possible extinction.
Named after its squat-like stature, Frogfish is an interesting species of reef fish found in the Philippines. They have a wide variety of decorative colors and are loved by underwater photographers. Frogfish can be found in ocean coral reefs, seagrass beds, or sandy bottoms of different islands such as Batangas, Negros Oriental, Mactan and Malapascua.
Popular among divers and marine life photographers, Harlequin Shrimps could possibly be the most striking and vibrantly colorful kind of shrimps there are. This species has evolved aspects that helps them find and feed on starfishes, and are widely found in Philippine oceans such as those in Anilao, Batangas and Dauin, Negros Occidental.
[related: Surf Time: Ride the Waves of Negros]
These soft-bodied marine creatures are commonly known as sea slugs, but aren’t often too seen around. Using their colorful exterior, they are able to keep predators away. Nudibranchs are found in Batangas, Bohol and more.