Floating debris and tiny sergeant fish

I was out snorkeling with a friend when I noticed her taking photos of a small clump of floating debris. When I headed over to see what was so interesting about the debris, I saw a host of tiny fish swimming around and within the clump. This was a small example of how fish, particularly smaller fish, will use floating objects to give them some cover and security from predators.

Most of the fish appeared to be sergeant fish, probably Indo-Pacific Sergeants, no more than half an inch long, but with their dark bars quite distinct. There were a couple of other species there, too, in smaller numbers, but I’m not sure what they were. (Update: The slightly larger grey fish are freckled driftfish. Thanks to John Hoover for the ID.)

The second photo gives a sense of scale and shows how small this little world was. It also shows the fish migrating across to check out whether this new clumpy thing might make a good new home. They did this with both of us, but returned to the floating debris, figuring wisely that it offered better shelter for them.

Posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘Quiet Places.’ See more responses here.

13 thoughts on “Floating debris and tiny sergeant fish

  1. Forestwood

    I like that the trash is pretty and could provide shelter for the smaller fish, but it is sad that it is there in the first place, Graham. The world is not pristine anymore, and we must all do our part to prevent and clean it up. As for the photo challenge, the colours are excellent and I can imagine the quiet that one finds down there.

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    1. Graham Post author

      It’s very sad how much trash ends up in the ocean. Around here, most of it is fishing related, both from boats and the shore, but there’s also an enormous quantity of other debris that washes up, on the south coast particularly. The periodic cleanups of the coast there fill shipping containers. Unfortunately, it’s sea creatures that pay the heaviest price for this.

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    1. Graham Post author

      The trash is a problem. I’ve seen different creatures impacted, mostly by fishing gear of one kind or another. It’s really sad because it’s almost impossible to do anything about it, the fish just swim away.

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