Diving round the reefs of the Red Sea you will find this highly camouflaged fish sitting in and around the sandy patches between pinnacles. At first glance it is obvious how they gained their name; an elongated mouth, two round eyes on top of the head, brownish green coloring and an air of laziness are just some of the common characteristics between them and their land based name sake.
Living at between 2 to 30 metres they are well liked by the underwater photographer as, unless spooked, they remain relatively still on the sand and their appealing colouration makes for interesting macro shots. Their camouflage is so sophisticated that even their eyes have frilly iris lappets whish help to disperse the glare from their black pupils.
Lying there hidden in the sand the crocodile fish sits and waits for its food of small fish, occasionally foraging around for the odd crustacean to supplement its diet. The only small fish safe from the menu are the small cleaner wrasse which are responsible for the dental hygiene of the crocodile fish.
Sadly little is known of their breeding habits but juveniles begin life with black colouration before they develop their distinctive markings when they can grow up to 50cm long.
As a non-migratory fish they can be found in seas from the Red Sea to the furthest islands of Indonesia. Look out when diving Yolanda Reef as they are usually sitting around the wreckage of the sinks and baths.
Luckily their similarity to the crocodile is purely visual and divers are perfectly safe to approach as the only snapping that will occur is that of their cameras.