Sunday, February 22, 2009

Penguin Island marine life (2) - Pomatomus saltatrix, the tailor

I saw a huge school of tailors (Pomatomus saltatrix, or Pomatomus saltator) on the west side of the island, which was exposed to the Indian Ocean. Where they were hanging around, the water was about 3 meters' deep.


These fish are migratory and travel the world's ocean, except the east Pacific.


Voracious and cannibalistic - that's what they are. Hence, they tend to swim in schools of similarly-sized fish. (I guess, if there's any small ones, they would have been quickly consumed by others(?) But how about the young?).



Look at them, how gorgeous!
But beware, they are called "Tailor" because they can cut nets and lines with their knife-edged teeth! Wikipedia says "They should be handled with care due to their ability to snap at an unwary hand." Anyway, in the US, they are called the bluefish.



Another interesting bit of information is this:
"The locations of beaches with feeding schools can usually be identified from a distance because of the associated crowd of anglers" (Graham Edgar's book).

Thanks:
to JimSwims, a Dive-Oz forum member who identified the name of this fish for me.

References:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluefish
2. Australian Marine Life (2000) by Graham J Edgar
3. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia (1986) by Barry Hutchins & Roger Swainston

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