Stingrays, Eagle Rays, Manta Rays: An Uplifting Tale

Rays are the other star-power cartilaginous fishes, outnumbering sharks in species and matching them in variety of lifestyles. Stingrays lurk on the seafloor, Eagle Rays soar above the reef, Manta Rays cruise the oceans. Did I mention Star Power?  WITH FLATTENED BODIES, RAYS HAVE TAKEN THE PECTORAL FIN/HYDRODYNAMIC LIFT CONCEPT so far as to develop their pectoral fins into broad “wings.” Eagle and manta rays’ wings let them soar through the open waters like…well, eagles…flapping and

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Fishy Thumbnails 1 of 3: Angelfish to Frogfish

Thumbnail sketches of fishes you’re likely to see at dive destinations like Bonaire and Belize. Some Indo/Pacific species, a subjective and Caribbean-centric overview, not a comprehensive Fish I.D. Guide. THIS POST: ANGELFISH TO FROGFISH LINKS TO PARTS 2 & 3: G – P:  GOATFISH TO PUFFERFISH      G – P:  RAYS TO WRASSES ANGELFISH Angelfishes constitute some 86 species, most spread throughout the Indo-Pacific. Species in the Caribbean are limited to a handful, and

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Fishy Thumbnails 2 of 3: Goatfish to Pufferfish

Thumbnail Sketches of fishes you’re likely to see at dive destinations like Bonaire and Belize. Subjective and Caribbean-centric; not a comprehensive Fish I.D. Guide. THIS POST: GOATFISH TO PUFFERFISH LINKS TO PARTS 1 & 3 A – F:   ANGELFISH TO FROGFISH     G – R:   RAYS TO WRASSES GOATFISH Goatfish, encompassing some 86 species worldwide, get their name from the pairs of goatee-resembling barbels extending from their chins that they use to probe the sand

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Fishy Thumbnails 3 of 3: Rays to Wrasses

Thumbnail sketches of the fishes you’re likely to see at dive destinations like Bonaire and Belize. Subjective and Caribbean-centric; not a comprehensive Fish I.D. Guide. THIS POST (PART 3): RAYS TO WRASSES LINKS TO PARTS 1 & 2:  A – F,  ANGELFISH TO FROGFISH              G – L, GOATFISH TO PUFFERFISH RAYS – STINGRAYS, EAGLE RAYS, MANTA RAYS With flattened bodies, rays have taken the pectoral fin/hydrodynamic lift concept so

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Bermuda Chubs: Just Hangin’ Around

Bermuda Chubs (Kyphosus sectatrix) are sort of the Charlie Browns of reef fish. Where many fishes, like Bluestriped Grunts and Gray Snapper spend their days hanging around waiting to go forth and scrounge in the sandflats once it gets dark, Bermuda Chubs just seem to hang around. None of my references make any mention of them being nocturnal foragers.  BERMUDA CHUBS ARE ELLIPTICAL-SHAPED, 10- TO 12-INCH FISHES reputed to earn their livings eating algae and

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Damselfish: Small, Shy, Feisty

 Damselfish like Threespot, Dusky and Bicolor Damsels don’t have the celebrity status of more charismatic members of Family Pomacentridae like Clownfish or the in-your-face visibility of Sergeant Majors. But they’re feisty little guys who deserve attention – and, in fact, encountering Threespot Damsels (and the Damselfish Stare of Intimidation) are among my favorite things on the reef. EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT CLOWNFISH AND SERGEANTS BUT OTHER MEMBERS OF THE DAMSELFISH GROUP – like Blue and Brown

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Barracudas: A Tale of the Teeth

Looks aren’t everything, and barracudas prove that. Sort of. In a word, they look fearsome, and fearsome they are to their fishy prey – generally guys like grunts, groupers, snappers, even small tunas and other fishes. They look fearsome to divers, but unless you go up and try to punch them in the mouth or something (not recommended) they shouldn’t bother you. BARRACUDAS LOOK FEARSOME BECAUSE OF ALL THOSE FANG-LIKE TEETH – zillions of them

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Benthic & Pelagic Fishes: Defining Oceanic Lifestyles

Describing pelagic fishes is easy: They swim, feed and just hang out in the open ocean, a pretty consistent pattern across many ocean-going species. Describing benthic fishes is something else. They live at the bottom of the ocean but they go about their lives in a bunch of differing ways – above, on and sometimes in the seafloor. Some may engage in all three approaches. IF TOLSTOY HAD WRITTEN ABOUT MARINE LIFE, he might have

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Why Are Flounders Flat? Because it Works.

Flounders are famously fishes that start out with typical-fish body shapes and morph into bottom-dwelling flatfishes that live sideways, with both eyes on the same side. As weird as this sounds, they’re highly successful survivors and predators. But why are flounders flat? And how do they get flat?  FLOUNDERS ARE THE FISHES THAT PABLO PICASSO MIGHT HAVE DREAMED UP – all the parts are there, just arranged differently. And Peacock Flounders obviously would have been

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How Do Flying Fishes “Fly?” Well, Actually, They Glide.

Why do flying fishes fly? To escape predators, to flee from surprises like boat engines next them, perhaps to entertain you during the ride to a dive site. In any event, they earn their names by propelling themselves out of the water and gliding for long distances on broad pectoral fins. Torpedo-shaped and silvery, sometimes with markings in subdued colors, they’re not especially exotic visually. But they’re impressive both underwater and in the air. YOU’RE

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