Unlike most reef fish, which eat the coral directly, Damselfish are farmers. They clear off a small patch of reef and grow algea on it, which they then feed on. They will defend their patch fearlessly - I have actually been bitten ! ( It didn't hurt. )
New Jersey Scuba Diving
Underwater Pix 4
An enormous Rainbow Parrotfish Scarus guacamaia
Just like our own Blackfish, large adults do not like to be approached. The small fish at the lower left is a Schoolmaster Lutjanus apodus.
With the 1/2 second shutter lag of the digital camera you could never deliberately set up an action shot like this. This is a happy accident.
This school of Angelfishes was so intent on devouring this big Basket Sponge Xestospongia muta that they took no notice of me.
All I had to do was swim up current, and snap away !
This one is completely upsidedown.
Thimble Jellyfish Linuche unguiculata. Normally, red jellyfish are the kind you don't want to see but these little ones didn't seem to sting at all.
Sand Tilefish Malacanthus plumieri
There aren't too many places in the tropics where pure white is actually camouflage. Related northern Tilefishes live much deeper, beyond the range of divers.
A small coral head with a Tobaccofish Serranus tabacarius, a kind of basslet, in front of a Giant Tube Sponge Aplysina lacunosa. Black fingers in the background are probably Common Bushy Soft Coral Plexaura homomalla.
Nearly the same scene, with the fish moved around.Add a Chromis and some Damsels.
Sargassum Triggerfish Xanthichthys ringens. The three stripes on the cheek are the best identifying mark, as the colors are otherwise variable.
Porkfish Anisotremus virginicus
Another Stoplight Parrotfish, with glorious colors.
The fearsome Damselfish again.
Defending its turf.
I get no respect. Who named these things, anyway?
Queen Parrotfish. Scarus vetula
Eatin' coral, and poopin' beach sand. Yep.
Most of the fishes on the reef actually feed on the coral, gnawing on it all day, every day. One thing that you can deduce from this immediately is that coral must be a lot more resilient than some hysterical ecologists* would have you believe.
Does this mean it's ok for you to go bashing into it? Hardly. Always try not to touch or break the corals and sponges you see, but if you occasionally have to put a finger or two down on something solid, don't lose too much sleep over it.
I try never to touch anything on the reef because I don't know offhand which things sting and which ones don't, and some of them can really ruin your day !
* Not all ecologists are hysterical.
A brilliant Blue Tang. Photo is completely untouched.
Featherduster Worm Sabella
My best guess is that these are baby Princess Parrotfish Scarus taeniopterus, about 3" long.
Ocean Triggerfish Canthidermis sufflamen with Bar Jacks
Fire Worm Hermodice carunculata
Notice the tufts of white bristles underneath.
Leave this critter alone.
Thanks to Dr Matt Landau of
Stockton College Biology Department
for identifying many of these creatures.
I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.
Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted