Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coral Bay experience (7) - Other fishes

On my second or third day in Coral Bay, my chances of seeing more colorful fishes improved when I began to wander towards the southern boundary of the Maud Sanctuary Zone.

On day one, I saw a lot of these - dark-colored fishes - and I still could not find their name(s).

Then when I began to wander away from the main beach, I began to see some blue fishes that hung around branching corals. The blue fish is probably the black-axil chromis (Chromis atripectoralis). This fish has a black spot at the base of its pectoral fin, which distinguishes the fish from a very similar blue-green chromis (Chromis viridis).

And a wrasse (middle?) and a parrotfish (right, near top) too.

Note (31 August 2008):
Shadowkiller came to my rescue again!
According to him, the orange/yellowish fish in the middle is an orange blue-barred parrotfish (Scarus ghobban). And according to Allen & Swainston's book, this is a female. Wikimedia has a nice image of this fish. The Aussie Museum Fish Site has a page about this species too.

The bigger guy is a male Schlegel's parrotfish (Scarus schlegeli). The fish can be recognized by two yellow patches below its dorsal fin. The rear yellow patch forms a narrow bar that connects the dorsal and anal fin.

My first thought was: Arghh... ugly fella! Sorry, Mr or Miss toadfish.
This one is a stars and stripes toadfish (Arothron hispidus). An excellent photo of this fish can be found here.

I have seen goatfishes quite often when I snorkeled in Perth. So I am sure this one is a goatfish - probably an Indian goatfish (Parupeneus indicus). Both the Indian goatfish and blackspot goatfish (Parupeneus signatus) have a black spot on the tail base. But the stripe patterns in their heads differ. It is always fun to see a goatfish stirs up the sand to look for food, but this one worked it quite hard I think - it looked like it just jammed its head into the sand.

This one is a narrow banded sergeant (Abudefduf bengalensis). Unlike the banded sergeant (Abudefduf septemfasciatus) , which looks extremely similar, the narrow banded sergeant has a tail with rounded lobes. This fish is quite common in the shallow waters of the Maud Sanctuary Zone.

And this is another fish that I saw frequently enough in Coral Bay, although not in a big school - the smooth flutemouth (Fistularia commersonii). It is easy to remember because it has a long snout. This fish differs from the rough flutemouth (Fistularia petimba) in color, the latter is reddish or brown. All the ones I saw were the smooth flutemouths. I haven't bumped into any rough flutemouths in Coral Bay.

And it swims like a snake! Check out the short clip below. I took the clip when I was snorkeling on the outer reef. The fish was probably 50 cm or so in length.

The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia, by Gerald A. Allen & Roger Swainston, published by Western Australia Museum, 1988.

Also, thanks to Shadowkiller of the Dive-Oz forum (again), who ID Scarus schlegeli and Arothron hispidus for me!

1 comment:

Mosura said...

Great post - a piscatorial delight!