Category: CORAL REEF


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.

30879951683_3b6c03e5fb_o

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

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes),
Order Perciformes (Perch-likes),
Family Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)
Subfamily: Serraninae

Genus/species: Serranus tortugarum

GENERAL  CHARACTERISTICS: Light purple with bright blue to orange saddle bands along its back. Different specimens of this species can look very different from each other. The body has an orange to maroon base color. The top of the fish is darker than the bottom half.

Max. length: 8 cm (3 in)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found throughout the Caribbean sea over rubble, silty, or sandy bottoms. Often congregate in small groups hovering over a patch of coral rubble or an old conch shell. Will often hide in the substrate.

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on zooplankton.

REPRODUCTION:The Chalk Bass like other members of the genus Serranus, is a synchronous (simultaneous) hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs). The mated pair takes turns in which one acts as the male and the other the female through multiple matings, usually over the course of several nights. The fish do not self-fertilize.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

Ron’s flickr   http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625866509117/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-v2

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Serranus-tortugarum.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/16759567/0

 

 

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

Genus/species: Holacanthus tricolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single and a unnotched dorsal fin. The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. tricolor has a yellow anterior body with the remaining parts of body black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow.
Maximum length of approximately 12 inches (35 cm)

IMG_7406

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Georgia (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Santa Catarina, Brazil among rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas.    Depth range 3 – 92 m (10-300 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Rock Beauty Angelfish feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.

IMG_7386

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Pair bonding suggests a monogamous relationship. Pairs usually consist of one small and one large fish as well. Pairs will spawn by slowly rising up in the water column while bringing their bellies close together, and releasing large amounts of eggs and sperm. A female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening. This can total as many as ten million eggs for the duration of the spawning cycle. The eggs are transparent and pelagic, floating in the water column hatching in 15 to 20 hours becoming “pre-larval” angelfish attached to their large yolk sac. Has no functional fins, no eyes, or gut. After about 48 hours the yolk is absorbed developing into true larvae feeding on plankton. Growth is rapid and 3 to 4 weeks after hatching the fish will reach about 15-20 mm (0.6-0.8in) and will settle on the bottom.

CONSERVATION: IUCN  Least Concern

REMARKS: Reports of ciguatera poisoning 

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7066935367/in/set-72157606840726733/

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

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3610

EOL  eol.org/pages/995079/hierarchy_entries/44730320/details

Animal World  animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/RockBeauty.php

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

Genus/species:  Holacanthus ciliaris  

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single, unnotched dorsal fin, and a small mouth with brushlike teeth.  The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. ciliaris  is deep-bodied and strongly laterally compressed. Dorsal and anal fins trail. Juveniles have vertical blue bands on an orange-red body. As the fish grows, the bars increase in number before gradually disappearing. The color of large adults is purplish blue with yellow-orange rims to the scales; head above eye dark blue. They have a distinctive “crown” is speckled dark blue and surrounded by a ring of bright blue. Length to 45 cm (18 in), weight to 1.6 kg (3.5lbs).  

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico to Brazil on offshore reefs, 2-70+ m (6-200+ ft). Travel solitary or in pairs among sea fans, sea whips and corals.  

DIET IN THE WILD: Queen angelfish primarily feed on sponges and corals.; also algae, tunicates, hydroids and bryozoans. Juveniles glean ectoparasites from other fish.

 

Queen Angelfish

REPRODUCTION: Pairs reproduce bringing their bellies close together, and release sperm and 25 to 75 thousand eggs (10 million per spawning cycle).  The eggs are transparent, buoyant, and pelagic hatching after 15 to 20 hours into larvae with the yolk sac being absorbed after 48 hours.  The larvae then develop normal characteristics of free-swimming fish feeding on plankton and about 3–4 weeks after hatching the 15–20 millimetres (0.6–0.8 in) long juvenile settles on the bottom. Juveniles  are found among colonies of finger sponges and corals at the bottom of reefs for protection.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least concern

 

References

California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3609

ADW  http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Holacanthus_ciliaris/

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157625866509117/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-AV

 

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