Category: CORAL REEF


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animal
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Family Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)

Genus/species: Hypoplectrus gemma

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Blue Hamlet is iridescent blue with thin borders on its tail. Max length : 13.0 cm

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: USA (Florida) and Mexico. Marine; reef-associated. Tropical

DIET IN THE WILD: Hamlets have a large mouth and are carnivorous. In the wild Blue Hamlets feed on shrimps, small crabs, small crustaceans and the occasional small fish.

REPRODUCTION: Hamlets are simultaneous hermaphrodites (or synchronous hermaphrodites): They have both male and female sexual organs at the same time as an adult. They do not practice self-fertilization, but when they find a mate, the pair takes turns between which one acts as the male and which acts as the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/44937435715/in/album-72157625866509117/

Ron,s WordPress Shortlink  https://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Z9

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/47813

ADW. animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hypoplectrus/classification/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Pomacanthus paru

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: French Angelfish have tall, narrow bodies. and can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators.

The most observable difference between angelfishes and butterflyfishes is the preopercule spine on the gill cover common to angelfishes. Bodies are covered in black scales except those at front from nape to abdomen, which are rimmed with golden-yellow. Adults have a broad orange-yellow bar at the base of their pectoral fins and have a dorsal filament that is yellow.

Juveniles are jet black with circular bright yellow bands.
Max length : 41 cm (16 inches), common length : 25.0 cm (10 inches).

Adult below

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DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Eastern Atlantic: off Ascension Island to the west coasts of Africa in shallow reefs. 

Depth range 3 – 100 m (10-90 feet)

Juvenile below

French Angelfish

 

DIET IN THE WILD: P. paru are omnivores feeding on  sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates.

REPRODUCTION: French Angelfish are oviparous and monogamous. Spawning pairs are strongly territorial, with usually both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: The tall, narrow bodies can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins.

Juveniles tend cleaning stations where they service a broad range of clients, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses. At the station the cleaner displays a fluttering swimming and when cleaning it touches the clients with its pelvic fins.

Ciguatera poisoning may rarely occur from eating French angelfishes.

Juvenile below

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/1118

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  wp.me/p1DZ4b-KJ

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/19974227304/in/album-72157625866509117/

ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Pomacanthus_paru/

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Subkingdom: Metazoa
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthoza
Order: Scleractina
Family: Faviidae

Genus/species: Colpophyllia natans

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Dome shaped colonies of individual polyps. The colony surfaces are covered with random curved ridges separated by large long and wide grooves known as valleys. Size: Up to 6 feet in diameter.

Boulder Brain Coral5230996878_5b77255438_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys. Depth up to 55 m (180 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Plankton and zooxanthella by-products.

REPRODUCTION: Budding, and external sexual fertilization.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern     Threats include coral bleaching, black band disease, and white plague which can cause mortality.

REMARKS: Even though they may grow to 6 feet their skeletons will float when dry.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef Exhibit 2018

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5230996878/in/album-72157625866509117/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1DB

arkive  www.arkive.org/boulder-brain-coral/colpophyllia-natans/

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Actiniidae

Genus/species; Condylactis sp.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Disc size: 10–40 cm (4-16 in) Colors differ.

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found throughout the Caribbean and Western Atlantic; also Indo-Pacific. Found in lagoons or on inner reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Like many other cnidarians, these anemones host zooxanthellae. They also collect small invertebrates and fishes with their tentacles.

REPRODUCTION: Male and female release eggs and sperm into the water. After fertilization and development, larvae metamorphose and settle out as juvenile anemones. Can also reproduce asexually through splitting and budding.

REMARKS: Indo-Pacific Condylactis spp. and clownfish do not display symbiotic behavior in the wild. However, aquarists report that if introduced in an aquarium, the anemone may serve as a clownfish host. There are no clownfish species in the Caribbean

BEWARE:
Annals of Internal Medicine: A healthy 28 year old man died of liver failure after being touched by a condylactis anemone.

Other actiniarian to be wary of are the Mimic Anemone (Phyllodiscus semoni) is known to have caused acute renal failure and severe dermatitis. The Hellsfire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum), the Snake Anemone (Actinostephanus haeckeli), and the Armed Anemone (Dofleinia armata) are reported to cause extremely painful stings and persistent ulceration of the skin. And the Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) has been implicated in causing prolonged neurological damage and even anaphylactic shock in aquarists

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef exhibit 2016

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8727971592/in/album-72157625866509117/

Reefs.com. https://reefs.com/2018/04/14/the-severe-health-risk-posed-by-the-caribbean-condylactis-anemone/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacentridae (Damselfishes)

Genus/species: Chromis enchrysura

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Max length : 10.0 cm (4 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to Western Atlantic: through the Caribbean Sea to southern Brazil. Found among steep slopes and outer patch reefs.. Depth range 5 – 146 m (16-480 ft)

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, pairs during breeding. Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. Males guard and aerate the eggs.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/summary/188315/0

fishbase  https://www.fishbase.de/summary/Chromis-enchrysura.html

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

Genus/species: Chaetodon aya

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: C. aya is a silver–white-colored fish with yellow on all fins except the pectoral fins. It also has vertical dark bars on its eyes and near its caudal fin and a broad dark bar sloping down and backward from middle of spiny dorsal fin to base of rear part of anal fin.

Bank butterflyfish Chaetodon aya,Chaetodontidae_RJD IMG_2745

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: North Carolina and northeastern Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan in Mexico; unknown in Bahamas and Antilles. Found along deep offshore reefs, marine; depth range 20 – 170 m (65 – 550 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Mouth small, terminal and protrusible with a band or rows of small brushlike teeth. Most Chaetodontidae feed on a combination of coelenterate polyps or tentacles, small invertebrates, fish eggs, and filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, Form pairs during breeding

CONSERVATION: IUCN, Least concern. (LC)

 

REMARKS: Is shaped to hover and navigate holes and crevices in the reef. It has a small protruding mouth and many small teeth in both jaws to reach and eat food items unavailable to many other fishes.

The vertical line going through the eye disguises the eye and makes it harder for a predator to figure out which is the front of the fish and which is the back, perhaps giving the butterflyfish a brief chance to escape while the predator hesitates.

Butterflyfish and angelfishes, have evolved bodies which are deep and laterally compressed like a pancake. Their pelvic and pectoral fins are designed differently, so they act together with the flattened body to optimise manoeuvrability.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

 

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4405137655/in/set-72157625119200613

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3601

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/165621/0

TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Orders: Lophiiformes (Anglerfishes)
Family: Antennaridae (frogfishes)

Genus/species: Antennarius maculatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Large dark spot is located under the dorsal fin and can also have black spots on the body and fins. Their thick skin is covered by dermal spicules which are spiky and look like warts. The frogfish has small, laterally directed eyes but a large mouth. The mouth is upturned and can expand to the width of the body to swallow prey. It has small gill openings which are situated behind the pectoral fins.

 

Length up to 15 cm (6 inches)

 Frogfishes pectoral fins are modified and look like feet, including small toes. They are able to use the leg-like fins to walk across the bottom of the ocean floor.

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The first dorsal spine, the illicium is modified and is used as a fishing rod. Its extremity is endowed with a characteristic esca (lure), which looks like a small fish with a pinkish to brownish coloration.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indian and Western Pacific Oceans among sheltered rocky reefs, algae, sponges and soft corals to 15 meters (49 feet).  It is a reef dweller, perching on coral ledges.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivore. Each frogfish species moves the rod (illicium) with its lure (esca) in a special pattern to attract the attention of potential prey. The frogfish can swallow fish, its main diet, that are larger in size than itself. It lowers it lower jaw and expands its upper jaw to expand the mouth, then it sucks the prey in by creating suction in the mouth, a maneuver called gape and suck reported to take only 1/6th of a second.

REPRODUCTION: Frogfish are oviparous; Eggs are bound in ribbon-like sheath or mass of gelatinous mucus called ‘egg raft’ or ‘veil’.
During mating they do not tolerate each other except for the act of fertilization. The female can kill or eat the male if he stays close.

LIFESPAN: 3-5 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

LIFESPAN: 3-5 years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Not Evaluated

REMARKS:

The longlure frogfish does not have a swim bladder, so it does not swim very often. It moves by sucking water in its mouth and expelling it through its gills.

Frogfishes are able to change colors (from yellow to red or green to brown) to match nearby sponges or corals and their black spots mimic openings (ostia) of sponges.

The frogfish exhibits biofluorescence, that is, when illuminated by blue or ultraviolet light, it re-emits it as red, which may assist intraspecific communication and camouflage.

References

Note: The above frogfish photos were of multiple different fishes taken between 2008 and 2018 at the California Academy of Sciences San Francisco, CA. 

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Hidden Reef 2018

Reproduction:  http://www.pbase.com/imagine/frogfishspawn

Florida Museum  www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/fish/discover/species-profiles/…

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/205404/details

fishbase  http://fishbase.org/summary/Antennarius-maculatus.html

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-jX

Reef sites (color changes) http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1007/s00338-016-1500-6?author_access_token=QUU5tuAAHyf1lyvDYxkzJPe4RwlQNchNByi7wbcMAY7Z0HBANUYKVVBBJDO0QDoP-bDRJZ9Bhk4OJAon8AHurEXVNikB9zR_mJh84KLzMLA2wUITSMK6S7kRi0s4vsexmplaeSw93llcvBJo7jTI_g%3D%3D

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/8296644088/in/album-72157652559028013/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus species: Halichoeres garnoti
.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All yellowed wrasses begin their lives as females. As they grow they change theirs and coloration. Adults are blue above the lateral line and have a yellow belly. Juveniles are yellow with a silvery blue stripe along the side. Super males (terminal males), have black vertical bar behind tip of pectoral fin, merging with broad black area on upper side.

Length up to 19 cm (7.5 in)

Yellowhead Wrasse

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: H. garnoti are native to the Western Atlantic; Bermuda and southern Florida to southeastern Brazil.
Commonly found on shallow and deep reefs and exposed ledges.

DIET IN THE WILD: Crustaceans, molluscs, worms, echinoderms.

REMARKS: Curious; easily attracted by divers. Diurnal; swim constantly during the day and rest at night.

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2958190043/in/album-72157625866509117/

Ron’s WordPress permalink https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/2958190043/in/album-72157625866509117/

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacentridae (Damselfishes)

Genus/species: Chromis cyanea

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Blue Chromis body is laterally compressed with a small mouth. The color is brilliant blue; nape and back often dark. The slender tail is deeply forked has dark borders. 

Length up to 15 cm (2.3 – 6 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Native to Florida, Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico in schools of the outer reef slopes and exposed patch reefs. 

Depth 3–60 m (10-200 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Zooplankton, primarily copepods.

REPRODUCTION: Lay demersal eggs, which are guarded by the male.

PREDATORS: Preyed upon by other fishes such as grouper and trumpet fishes.

LIFESPAN: 5 years in captivity

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: Often in large aggregations retreating into coral crevices when frightened.

The Blue chromis also use olfaction and mechanoreception (lateral line) to detect water movement and vibration, and can also hear using their well-developed inner ears.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608339622313/with/6190673709/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-G9

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3642

IUCN Red List  www.iucnredlist.org/details/165910/0

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Chromis_cyanea/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)

Genus/species: Gramma loreto

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Bicolored: purple (appearing blue underwater) in front, bight orange-yellow behind. Length to 8 cm (3.1 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:  Native to the Western Central Atlantic (Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda). Found in caves or under ledges. Swim with belly toward substratum, thus under ledges seen upside down. 

Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)

Genus/species: Gramma loreto

DIET IN THE WILD: G. loreto feed on ectoparasites of other fishes.

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: External fertilization. Prior to spawning, some males establish nest sites, using small holes and crevices in the substratum. Females travel to male nests for egg deposition around dawn.  Males guard and maintain the nest.   

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS:The Royal Gramma Basslet often rests or retreats when alarmed to a stereotypic “upside down” posture near cave roofs. 

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2016

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608545590153/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-uq

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=5281&g…

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/211815/details

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