On a Night Dive last week i stumbled over this very interesting fish: The Ghost Velvetfish (Cocotropus larvatus). As the name might suggest, the Ghost Velvetfish is a member of the family of Velvetfishes, which are closely related to the Scorpionfishes. But while we mostly see the Sulu Velvetfish (Paraploactis obbesi) and the Spinyskin Velvetfish (Cocotropus dermacanthus), the Ghost Velvetfish is a rather uncommon sighting. In fact i have only seen it a couple of times. Possibly because the afternoon beer often interferes with my night diving plans and i have only seen this fish at night.
Like all Velvetfishes it has no scales. With the mottled pattern on his light tan skin this fish blends in perfectly with its habitat. It stays on light coloured sand and rubble – mainly under ledges or in cracks. This individual was about 5 cm in size and found relatively shallow in a crack under two bigger boulders during our safety stop. And this proves again: In Lembeh Strait you should never think a dive is over before you actually come up the ladder to the dive boat.