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bony fish 

A short snorkel on a healthy tropical coral reefs gives you the opportunity to see more vertebrates in a shorter time than any other ecosystem...

Class Osteichthyes, 'Bony Fish'

This is the largest group of vertebrates in the world.

 Order Anguilliformes: Eels

Family Muraenidae: Moray Eels

Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo Reef

Gymnothorax thyrsoideus, 'Black-faced Moray Eel'. This eel is reported to be found in shallow more turbid waters around coral reefs, including wrecks. Widespread through tropical Indo-Pacific.

Order Clupeiformes

Family Clupeidae: Herrings, Sardines

(Panagsama, Philippines)

Herrings or 'sardines' often form huge schools.

Order Beloniformes

Family Hemiramphidae, Family Belonidae

Order Gasterosteiformes /  Syngnathiformes

Family Syngathidae

Family Centriscidae

Aeoliscus strigatus, 'Razorfish' (Panagsama, Philippines).

Order Scorpaeniformes

Family Scorpaenidae

Pterois sp. 'Lionfish' (Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands).

Family Serranidae: Groupers, Rock-cods, Anthias 

Cephalopholis argus, 'Peacock Grouper', 'Argus Grouper' (Farquar, Seychelles).

Subfamily Anthiadinae

Anthias (Mangalonga, Solomon Islands).

Family Echeneidae: Remoras

Family Carangidae

Includes the fast and predatory 'Trevally', known as 'Jacks' in the Americas.

Caranx ignobilis, 'Giant Trevally' (Aitutaki Fiji).

(Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia)

Gnathanodon speciosus, 'Golden Trevally', 'Barred Trevally', being serviced by Cleaner Wrasse. Despite the first common name, they are only bright yellow when young, retaining the colour on the tips of fins and tail as they mature. And despite the second common name, the bars also fade as they age.

Family Haemulidae: 'Sweetlips', 'Grunts'

Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides, 'Many Spotted Sweetlips', 'Harlequin Sweetlips', juvenile (Panagsama, Philippines). The juvenile of this species impersonates a toxic flatworm.

Family Lutjanidae: Tropical Snappers

(Lakeside, Ningaloo, Western Australia)

Lutjanus fulviflamma, 'Black-spot Snapper'.

 Family Lethrinidae 'Emperors',
Family Nemipteridae 'Monocle Breams'

Family Mullidae, 'Goatfish'

Goatfish have barbels that hang down from their 'chin'.

(Aitutaki Fiji)

Mulloidichthys vanicolensis, 'Yellowfin Goatfish'.

Family Pempheridae: 'Sweepers' 'Bullseye'

'Bullseye' or 'Bigeyes' are small and unusually shaped fish with huge eyes. They feed by night on zooplankton, then during the day they usually rest in schools underneath coral ledges.

(Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo, Australia)

Pempheris tominagai, 'African Silver Sweeper'?. Found in north-west Australia, western Indonesia, across Indian Ocean, Red Sea and to east African coast. (This is replaced by similar looking 'Silver Sweeper' Pempheris schwenkii along the rest of Australian coast, through Indonesia and to tropical Pacific).

(Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo, Australia)

Pempheris molucca?

For the page on:
Family Pomacentridae, 'Damselfish' including Anemonefish

Family Scaridae: Parrotfish

(Bali Barat, Indonesia)

Scarus scaber, 'Dusky-capped Parrotfish', 'Five-saddle Parrotfish'. Found between Indonesia across the Indian Ocean to the east coast of Africa.

Family Labridae: Wrasse

(Bali Barat NP, Indonesia)

Thalassomma hardwicke, 'Six-Banded/Sixbar Wrasse'.

(Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo)

Thalassoma lutescens, 'Green Moon Wrasse', 'Blue-fin Wrasse', 'Yellow-brown Wrasse' and many other common names! Widespread and common on tropical coral reefs through Indo-Pacific. 

Thick-lipped Wrasse (image by Damon Ramsey)(Lakeside, Ningaloo, Western Australia)

Hemigymnus fasciatus, 'Thick-lipped Wrasse'.

Coris spp.

(Miyako, Japan)

Coris gaimard, 'Yellowtail Coris', 'African Coris', 'Clown Wrasse'. Usually has yellow tail, blue spots and green stripes on head. Terminal Phase/males have pinkish head and yellow bar on side. Females have reddish body. Juveniles have reddish body with white spots, almost like a clownfish. Widespread; found on coral reefs across much of tropical Indo-Pacific, north to Japan.

For the page on: Family Chaetodontidae, 'Butterflyfish'

Family Pomacanthidae, 'Angelfish'

Like Butterflyfish, Angelfish are also rather plate-shaped. However, they are more squarish in profile. 

Centropyge flavissima, 'Lemonpeel Angelfish' (Aitutaki Fiji).

Pygoplites diacanthus , 'Regal Angelfish' (Bali Barat NP, Indonesia).

Family Zanclidae

There is only one species in this family.

Zanclus cornutus, 'Moorish idol' (Kakaban, Indonesia).

Family Acanthuridae, 'Surgeonfish'

Zebrasoma veliferum, 'Sailfin Tang', (Aitutaki Fiji).

(Miyaku, Japan)
(Aitutaki Fiji).

Acanthurus triostegus, 'Convict Tang'. Widespread throughout tropical Indo-Pacific.

Order Tetraodontiformes

Family Balistidae: Triggerfish

(Bali Barat NP, Indonesia)

Melichthys vidua, 'Pink-tailed Triggerfish'.

(Miyako, Japan)

Balistoides viridescens, 'Titan Triggerfish'. Large; largest triggerfish in Indo-Pacific (there is a larger species in far eastern Pacific). During nesting season the females get very aggressive and may charge and bite. One of these large football-shaped fish racing towards you is one of the scariest things on the coral reef!

(Miyako, Japan)

Rhinecanthus rectangulus, 'Wedge-tail Triggerfish', 'Black-banded Triggerfish', 'Humuhumu'. This is one of the two fish in Hawaii known as Humuhumunukunnukuapua'a (triggerfish with snout like a pig) . It is the state fish of Hawaii. Found widely on coral reefs across the tropical Indo-Pacific.

Family Tetraodontidae

Canthigaster valentini, 'Valentin's Sharpnose/Black Saddled Puffer/Toby' (Miyako Island, Japan).

Family Ostraciidae: Boxfish, Cowfish &Trunkfish

Ostracion meleagris, '(White) Spotted Boxfish', (Niue).

For a lecture on the behaviour of coral reef fish

Back to the page on Indo-Pacific Coral Reefs

Well it looks like my first trip after the virus now might be as an Expedition leader in Tasmania with Coral Expeditions. If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.