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Muck Diving in Alor: Presenting the Macro Critters of the Alor Archipelago in Indonesia

Written in May 2024 by Nautika Dive Alor

Alor's muck diving is underrated. Despite not being as widely recognized as other destinations in Southeast Asia like Lembeh, Ambon, and Anilao, Alor offers world-class muck diving. Thanks to the nutrient-rich waters and volcanic sand of Kalabahi Bay, Alor is a dream spot for many macro underwater photographers seeking to capture footage of rhinopias, nudibranchs, frogfish, seahorses, and much more. Let's take a closer look at some of the muck species resident in Alor.

Top 10 Muck Critters in Alor: What Macro Could You Spot?

If you have a bucket list of muck critters you'd like to see in the Coral Triangle, Alor is the perfect place to check off many of these items. With its diverse range of species and experienced dive guides from Nautika Dive Alor leading the way, you can embark on a thrilling treasure hunt to encounter critters such as:

1- WEEDY AND PADDLE FLAP RHINOPIAS

Yes, you heard it right. This fascinating family of scorpionfish can indeed be spotted lurking in the sands of Kalabahi Bay. Here, we have two species: Rhinopias Frondosa, also known as the Weedy Scorpionfish, and Rhinopias Eschmeyeri, commonly referred to as the Paddle Flap Scorpionfish. The treasure hunt to find these elusive Rhinopias is best undertaken during night dives or specific muck dives.

2- GIANT, PAINTED, OCELLATED, AND WARTY FROGFISH

These masterful camouflaged ambush predators are present across many of our muck and reef dive sites.

 

Among the diverse types found in Alor are the Giant Frogfish, Painted Frogfish boasting hues such as orange and black, the Ocellated Frogfish, and the Warty Frogfish. Additionally, on rare occasions, we have been fortunate to spot the Hairy Frogfish. Each encounter with a frogfish is an exhilarating experience, whether witnessing the emergence of their lure to capture prey or observing their growth from juvenile to adult stages.

3- BARGIBANTI AND PONTOHI PYGMY SEAHORSE

Among the sea fans of our reef dives in Pura Island and Pantar Island, the tiny Bargibanti Pygmy Seahorse can be found, blending seamlessly with the texture of its habitat. The Bargibanti Pygmy seahorse is the smallest seahorse in the world, making sightings of this elusive creature a highlight for divers visiting Alor.

Other seahorse species, such as the rare Hippocampus Pontohi Pygmy Seahorse, have also been spotted lately in dive sites close to Our Dive Resort. Additionally, Spiny or Thorny Seahorses can frequently be captured on camera during night dives in Kalabahi Bay.

4- HARLEQUIN SHRIMP

With their vibrant appearance and strict diet of sea stars, Harlequin Shrimp are a top encounter for many macro enthusiasts diving in the archipelago. Witnessing them devour a piece of a sea star adds an extra thrill to the experience. These fascinating critters have been spotted in sites like Majid Ampera and Lewalu.

5- COLEMAN SHRIMP

Another shrimp that excites many divers in Alor is Coleman’s Urchin Shrimp. This species doesn't actually feed on the urchin itself; instead, through a symbiotic relationship, they live on the urchin and feed on particles of algae and debris. In this way, these creatures complement each other. These critters are mostly spotted in Kalabahi Bay.