The gauntlet was thrown down. Sandro (his photo is on the bottom) found one of these rare Polka-dot Batfish at San Clemente and I challenged Pumbaa to do the same on a recent dive – and darned if he didn’t do it! This species of batfish is quite rare, but if you’re a patient and alert observer, you can find them hiding in sandy bottoms, seagrass beds, coral rubble and even mud from North Carolina to Florida’s panhandle; the northern Bahamas; and the Yucatan Peninsula. Batfish live anywhere from the shallows of the shoreline to as deep as 230 feet. A bottom-dweller, this strange-looking creature isn’t designed to move quickly to chase its prey; instead it ‘walks’ crab-like on it’s pectoral fins along the sea floor. The dorsal fin is more like a spine and it acts as a lure to attract food within striking distance of the batfish. They only grow to 15″ maximum, but most are smaller and feast on shrimps, small crabs, worms, molluscs and juvenile fish. The polka-dots serve as camouflage and the batfish usually looks like it is covered by warts; but, they are actually small nodules called tubercles. If they sense a diver is near, they may bury themselves with sand, so be patient and go slowly, and you too may get a photo like one of these. Thanks to our good client Yuval Tamari for sharing your great photos (the first 3 shots in this post), and thanks to Sandro and Pumbaa, for knowing how to find these elusive critters!