Divers who’ve visited Gili Air will know all about the green turtles that are indigenous to the island, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for some of the other interesting types of marine life that roam the waters around Grand Sunset Gili Air.
You might as well call the frogfish the great pretender of the ocean. They use aggressive mimicry as a technique of hiding (somewhat in plain sight) from their prey, while also summoning them closer with an selection of lures that resemble the shrimps, worms, squids and other fish that make up their carnivorous diet. However, the frogfish is not able to change its colour quickly, and this takes place over the course of a few days. Once the frogfish has caught its prey, chances of escape are slim, as the frogfish is equipped with the fastest-known prey engulfment of any vertebrate.
The mantis shrimp
Don’t let its size fool you: pound for pound, the mantis shrimp is the strongest animal in the world, with a punch that packs the same force as a 22-caliber gun. So strong in fact, that they are placed in plastic tanks upon being captured, as that same punch – usually reserved for hunting and breaking the shells of clams and crabs – is also able to break a glass tank. Combine this with unbelievable speed (less than 800 microseconds, or the ability to punch 500 times in the time it takes you to blink), and the mantis shrimp is a killing machine. You can recognise the mantis shrimp by its beautiful colours.
The humphead wrasse
The humphead wrasse is one of the world’s largest reef fishes, growing up to 2 metres in length and weighing up to 180kg. An endangered species, the humphead wrasse is a solitary animal with the extraordinary ability to change its sex (from female to male) partway through its lifespan of 45 to 50 years. Over-fishing significantly threatens the survival of the humphead wrasse, and it is rated “endangered” by the IUCN, and is also considered “conservation dependent”, which means that the survival of the humphead wrasse is dependent on human intervention.
Pronounced “NEW-dih-bronk”, this bottom-dwelling creature is a shell-less molusk that is part of the sea slug family. The nudibranch consists of more than 2,000 different species. It is carnivorous, and feeds on sponges, coral, algae, anemones, barnacles and even other nudibranchs. Nudibranchs are simultaneous hermaphrodites – they can mate with any other mature member of their species – and have a lifespan of between less than a month to one year.