YOUR MARINE BIOLOGISTS FAVORITE FISH -PART 4

It is no secret anymore that every new Marine Biology Intern at Coco Collection can’t wait to write down their own “My favourite fish” blog post! And here you are -PART 4- of this underwater saga, happily brought to you by Alyssa Gervais, currently living the marine biologist’s dream at Coco Bodu Hithi.

The Maldives is home to thousands of fish species so narrowing this down to a top five was very difficult. Fish have always fascinated me, and having the chance to observe these beautiful, tropical animals every single day is a dream come true!

Without further ado, these are my favourite fish – so far, anyway!

The Humbug Damsel (Dascyllus aruanus) is a species commonly found in shallow lagoons; I often see them darting in and out from between the branches of the corals they call home.

Compared to the flashier, more colorful fishes on the reef, the Humbug Damsel may not seem like the catchiest, but these little black and white beauties are definitely interesting to watch!

Even though the adults are a bit plain, the juveniles have a bright blue splash of color on the pelvic fins.

Humbug Damsels darting around a coral at Bodu Hithi house reef

Humbug Damsels darting around a coral at Bodu Hithi house reef

Almost iridescent in the afternoon sun, the White-lined Lionfish (Pterois radiata) is one of my favourites. Usually found brightening dead coral areas, they’re difficult to spot while snorkelling due to their preference for hiding under things during the day, but are much easier to find while scuba diving.

 If you are lucky enough to see one, enjoy the lionfish from a distance: that mane of spines is very sharp – and venomous!

A White-line Lionfish resting on the reef

A White-line Lionfish resting on the reef

The Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonocanthus longirostris), also known as the Long-nose Filefish, might very well be one of the most colorful fish on the reef. These aren’t large fish by any means, but when it comes to colour, size isn’t everything!

These strangely shaped, orange spotted beauties are easy to see from a distance. Usually seen in pairs, adults are shy and quickly take refuge in rich coral growth – usually Acropora – making them very hard to photograph!

A romantic couple of Harlequin Filefish

A romantic couple of Harlequin Filefish

For the longest time I didn’t realize the beautiful, hexagonal pattern I saw when looking through some coral branches was actually a fish!

The Honeycomb Grouper (Epinephelus merra), blends in so well with their home that they’re often very difficult to spot but, once you get a good look, you’ll start seeing them everywhere. Even though they’re not the most colorful of creatures, the beautiful patterning that helps them blend so well definitely makes them stand out!

A Honeycomb Grouper trying very hard to blend in

A Honeycomb Grouper trying very hard to blend in

One of the most striking fish on the reef is the famous Oriental Sweetlips (Plectorhincus vittatus).

Both spots and stripes are very common in reef fish, but these ones have both! Most fish change coloration as they grow, but the Oriental Sweetlips’ transformation has got to be my favorite: they go from blotched orangey black and white juveniles to regal black and white striped/yellow and black spotted adults.

Adults are nocturnal, meaning during the day they can mostly be found resting on or beneath corals, whereas juveniles are more active during the day.

Patterns galore, an Oriental Sweetlips ‘teenager’ (left) and adult (right)

Patterns galore, an Oriental Sweetlips ‘teenager’ (left) and adult (right)

…And what’s your favourite fish?

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