The devil stinger fish wasn’t named such for nothing. Known also as demon stinger (Inimicus didactylus), it is related to the venomous stonefish. It is covered with venomous spines, but most of all, it is plain ugly.

I usually see them black with yellowish, “snake-y” color underneath its wing-like fins. But the devil fish Maeng pointed out to me in that dive some time ago as we were finning around the shallows for our safety stop was encrusted in white.

If not for its legs that are like those of an insect, I wouldn’t have realized that it was a devil.

A check on its side showed that yes, it has the “snake-y” skin texture.

As I observed it, thinking it was playing possum, I noticed again its leg… it was moving.

More than just being uniquely white, it was also doing something…

It was digging itself into the sand…

Slowly…

Until only its mouth and eyes were visible… barely.

The next time I got to scrutinize a devil stinger was in a dive off Kaputian in the Island Garden City of Samal. Again, I didn’t recognize it at first. I was trailing far behind my companions, taking my sweet time taking photos, when I saw this while hovering from above…

I moved closer and still couldn’t figure out what it was except that it appears to be a fish, a queer and very agitated one, but still a fish…

I waited for it to relax…

It was only then when I recognized the devil.

It’s the devil, all right.

I later learned that the two divers who were swimming ahead of me saw it and agitated it with their dive sticks. Poor fish.

I left as soon as it looked relaxed enough.

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