Muck diving in Lembeh usually means searching for small critters in the black sand but we also get some larger critters as well as some stunning coral! Finding sharks while diving is always exciting but coming face to face with one during a night dive is even more thrilling. Granted, the Coral Cat Shark (Atelomycterus marmoratus) is not very big. But when you’re scanning the ground for critters measuring in the millimetres the sudden appearance of a significantly larger shark is a surprise!
The coral cat shark is nocturnal and so it’s no surprise we saw them out and about during our night dive from Two Fish Divers Lembeh Resort at Police Pier. They can also be found during the day time but they are generally inactive and hidden away in crevices. Some larger sharks, such as the Great White, rely on ram ventilation to breathe – the movement of water as they swim provides them with the oxygen they need. However, many other sharks, including the Coral Cat Sharks, are ‘buccal pumpers’ which means they can stop moving and pump water over their gills by opening and closing their mouth.
This shark is a particularly long and slender shark and easily identified by its distinctive, spotted pattern. Its Latin name marmoratus means marbled and refers to its mottled pattern.
We haven’t seen sharks for a long time in Lembeh so these were an exciting find on our night dive! It just goes to show that you never know what you can find underwater…
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