Like any successful and popular movie, our blog post “my favourite fish” has also become a real saga! After the Resident Marine Biologist Chiara Fumagalli ‘s first post, our marine interns are writing the new exciting chapters: here is the most recent one, written by Michaela (Michi) and Linn.
MICHI: Due to over fishing you would think there is not a lot of fish left in the ocean anymore, but luckily around Coco Bodu Hithi and Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu we can still see quite a variety of different species! There are some that always catch my eyes. Here I will introduce you to some of them.
The spiny one – Blotched Porcupinefish (Diodon liturosus)
With its big eyes it always reminds me of a puppy. It’s quite a shy fella who usually hides underneath table corals or rocks.
If you disturb a Blotched Porcupinefish too much or somehow threaten it, it will blow up like a balloon. That’s a lot of stress for it and it needs a lot of energy to get back to normal size. So please observe it but DON’T TOUCH IT! And don’t forget it is also very poisonous when you’d try to eat it.
The unique beauty- Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus)
It’s a one of its kind! It’s the only species in the family – so there are no close relatives to this fish. The Moorish Idol usually swims proudly alone or with a partner around the reef.
It’s so pretty with the orange saddle over its nose/snout and the long white filament on the top of the dorsal fin.
The snorkelling companion – Crocodile Needlefish (Tylosurus crocodilus)
The needlefish is a silvery long fish which swims in sometimes small, sometimes big schools and sometimes alone just beneath the surface always looking for tiny fish to eat.
It is a steady companion on my snorkel trips. As soon as I’m in the water I can usually find a needlefish swimming next to me or zigzagging my path during a turtle transect.
They are very curious sometimes and can come really close!
The one who looks like a painting – Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus)
The Picasso Triggerfish is a beauty: as soon as you see it you will know why! The colouration of this fish is so unique that you may think it is part of a painting from the famous artist Pablo Picasso.
You may see this little fella swimming around the reef in shallow water looking for food or blowing in the sand to build its nest. Triggerfish are territorial and do not hesitate to scare other fish away from their own territory.
LINN: The marine life in the Maldives leaves you speechless. Here comes a selection of the creatures that particularly catch my attention.
The Orange-lined Triggerfish – (Balistapus undulatus)
I like this sophisticated beauty with strong character!
It is easily identified with its greenish colour and diagonal yellow to orange lines and commonly found in reef habitats. This fish is also called “oddly shaped swimmer” because of its two tiny undulating fins not really adapted for its un-aerodynamic body.
At night it will raise its first dorsal fin, which look like a trigger, to protect itself from predators.
As my colleague Michi said just few lines above, be aware that triggerfish can be a bit aggressive when protecting their nest!
The Tall-fin Batfish – (Platax teira)
At the end of a snorkelling trip at Coco Bodu Hithi house reef I found two big black&white leaves floating just below the water surface: actually, they were juveniles tall-fin batfish.
You can identify them by their black and white side bands and the black blotch on the side below their pectoral fins. When still juveniles they are pelagic (“pelagic” is derived from Greek and means- living at open sea-) and float like debris. What do they like to eat? Algae and jellyfish, of course!
And my last favorite fish is…
The Racoon Butterflyfish – (Chaetodon lunula)
When I go snorkeling I am always happy to encounter this remarkable couple swimming always hands in hands. Racoon butterflyfish are easily recognized with their black and white face-mask and bright yellow body.
Usually hidden during the day amongst the corals, they come out at night for a pleasurable show.
And what’s YOUR favourite fish?