Tag Archives: fish

Fish facts

Over the past few months I have habitually sent out interesting facts about fishes and other marine life via text message. Here is a recap of the info:

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Blacklip Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleinii)

Dec 14 – If you love to snooze, your spirit fish is a wrasse! At dusk they are the first to bed down either buried in sand or wedged in the reef and typically the last to rise at daybreak.

Dec 7 – Soapfishes, related to grouper, are typically smaller and cryptic. They get their name from their ability to exude a soapy skin toxin called grammistin which makes them unpalatable to predators.

Dec 1- Moray eels regularly open and close their mouths to move water over their gills for respiration giving a misleading appearance of aggression.

Nov 3 – Frogfish have a thin, extendable first dorsal spine used as a lure to attract prey. (Related to bright glowing lure of sharp fanged deep water anglerfish in Nemo) Frogfish store their lure flat against their backs when not in use. Some lures are so specialized they have head, carapace, legs and black dot eye like a shrimp! Regeneration in a few months after consumption but never as pristine.

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Squid have specialized cells called chromatophores that allow them to change color

Oct 28 – Parrotfish make mucus sacks to sleep in each night because it camouflages their scent from predators like eels and protects against parasite.

Sept 20: Mollusk Monday: Giant clams contain the same type symbiotic zooxanthellae algae that lives inside coral polyps. Every giant clam contains a unique color pattern due to the zooxanthellae inside, but no pearl. Try an oyster, clam pearls are very rare.

Sept 9 – Fish fact: The dramatic color patterns of juvenile sweetlips are thought to mimic that of unpalatable soft bodied invertebrates like nudibranchs to avoid predation.

Sept 2 – Fish fact: Moray eels possess a second set of jaws located in the throat or pharynx. The eel first clamps with it’s outer jaw then attacks with it’s pharyngeal jaw to pull the prey down its throat and swallow. Watch it in slow motion on YouTube!

Aug 25 – Fish trivia: Which is more poisonous, scorpionfish or pufferfish? Pufferfish! Their flesh contains tetrodoxin toxin that has caused many human fatalities although licensed Japanese chefs remove the toxin and prepare pufferfish as a delicacy. Scorpionfish are not poisonous at all but venomous bc the toxin in their dorsal spine is injected not ingested. Try lionfish pizza, it’s delicious!

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Tube sponges living on the deck of this wreck

 

Aug 20 – Gobies constitute 35% of the total number of fish found on coral reefs. Their fused pelvic fins from a disk-shaped sucker used to adhere to rocks or corals.

Aug 16 – Gobies typically live in male female pairs in burrows. In spawning burrows the female goby maintains a tall (6-13cm) rubble mound, for increased fast water flow over the burrow, which along with the male’s fanning action, oxygenates the eggs inside. If the female leaves the burrow it quickly loses height and males give up, eat the eggs and look for other making opportunities. Look for goby burrows the next time you snorkel!

July 31 – Turtle Tale: Even embryonic sea turtles breath air! If a turtle nest must be transferred do so within the first 6hrs. After 3hrs the embryo begins to attach to the inner shell membrane of the egg. Movement can cause mortality if eggs are tipped or shaken bc the embryo may detach and suffocate in its embryonic fluid. But if undisturbed, two months after being laid a baby sea turtle will emerge!

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A sunken fishing vessel and artificial reef home to many fishes. We even got to swim inside.

July 28 – The lizardfish is a voracious carnivore that waits stationary on the bottom then darts upward to seize small fish swimming overhead. Its mouth is lined with small, but sharp teeth and its tongue even has inward directly teeth too!

July 24 – Squirrelfish and soldierfish with their red bodies and large eyes for nocturnal swimming are easily confused, but squirrelfish possess a sharp cheek spine which soldierfish lack. Thus the squirrel is more formidable than the soldier! Handle with care.

July 20 – Many fish change sex during the course of their lifespan including parrotfish, wrasse and emperors. Anemone fish are unique because most sequential hermaphrodites start female and transform into males while clownfish change to become female from initial boyhood.

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All of these photos were taken with my GoPro and red underwater filter on a recent dive trip.

July 17 – Triggerfish get their name from their ability to lock their first dorsal spine erect which is then depressed by pressure on the trigger-like second dorsal spine. They use this ability to lock themselves into rock crevices at night.

Provincial Dive Team Training

One of my biggest projects at site is developing the Provincial Reef Assessment Team, a group of divers to conduct regular assessments of Romblon’s marine resources to ensure proper management. We hope to also identify areas for protection in the future. Here are some photos from our recent dive training session.

The Dive Team
The Dive Team

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We lay a 50m transect line and then record the substrate under the line to determine % coral coverage on a given reef.
We lay a 50m transect line and then record the substrate under the line to determine % coral coverage on a given reef.
We also conduct fish surveys of species diversity and abundance.
We also conduct fish surveys of species diversity and abundance.
And in typical Filipino style, our entire team can fit in one vehicle!
And in typical Filipino style, our entire team can fit in one vehicle!

Happy 25th Birthday!!!

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The celebration with my host family complete with a huge birthday banner.
The celebration with my host family complete with a huge birthday banner.

On the day of my birthday, a Wednesday, my entire office spent the day cooking an elaborate and delicious meal which we then enjoyed at the Fish Ponds, where I frequently help with aquaculture field work.

I learned how to kill, de-feather, chop and cook a chicken - this chicken!
I learned how to kill, de-feather, chop and cook a chicken – this chicken!
Cooking meal does not mean removing it from the bone, that is the task of the eater. And chicken's feet are a delicacy here and were included in my bday stew.
Cooking a chicken does not mean removing it from the bone, that is the task of the eater. And chicken’s feet are a delicacy here and were included in my bday stew. Notice the cell phones in the background. Free time here is spent playing games on phones. Filipinos may eat chicken’s feet, but some parts of life are not so different!
We seined these fish from our fish ponds. Then I learned how to gutt them. Fish are cooked whole, thus it is also the responsibility of the eater to separate meat from tiny fish bones.
We seined these fish from our fish ponds. Then I learned how to gutt them. Fish are cooked whole, thus it is also the responsibility of the eater to separate meat from tiny fish bones.
This was the freshest meal I have ever eaten: a chicken I killed, fish I caught and gutted, vegetables collected on site at our garden. The furthest items were from the local market, yet still grown within Odiongan.
This was the freshest meal I have ever eaten: a chicken I killed, fish I caught and gutted, vegetables collected on site at our garden. The furthest items were from the local market, yet still grown within Odiongan.
The Office Celebration!! (The second huge pot is full of rice, a meal is not a meal in the Philippines without rice - quite literally because a Filipino will instead regard it as a snack and be hungry for more food shortly after)
The Office Celebration!! (The second huge pot is full of rice, a meal is not a meal in the Philippines without rice – quite literally because a Filipino will instead regard it as a snack and be hungry for more food shortly after)
Finally, many thanks to my fellow PC Volunteers who decorated my room with fish and filled my bed with a balloon ocean.
Finally, many thanks to my fellow PC Volunteers who decorated my room with fish and filled my bed with a balloon ocean.