A while ago, I posted a photo of an ember parrotfish missing a chunk from its back (here), but able to carry on quite normally.
In this photo, a bluespotted cornetfish has had its back end removed, likely by a larger predator. However, it too seemed to be getting around fine, though the tail fin is certainly one that cornetfish use a lot.
The other thing about this photo is that it nicely illustrates why this species is called the bluespotted cornetfish.
Bluespotted cornetfish are long and slender, though they appear wide if seen from above. They can often be seen hovering in quite shallow water. While they’re quite capable of shooting off if they feel threatened, they’re equally likely to remain where they are and watch as swimmers or snorkelers pass close by, even directly above them.
This one was in very shallow water as I passed over it and it didn’t budge. It had a wound on the right side of its snout, near the tip. I’ve noticed other cornetfish with damaged snouts including one where the whole thing veered off at 45 degrees. I saw it on more than one occasion and it didn’t seen to be bothering the fish. I assume the damage was the result of an encounter with some would-be predator, but part of me likes to wonder if such wounds are sometimes simply the result of banging into things with that long, long snout.
This is a fish of many shapes and colors. Seen from the side they look skinny and long. From above they look much wider and, consequently, seem shorter. They look silvery from the side, green from above and they’ll add dark bars sometimes.
This one was hanging out in shallow water and showed no inclination to move on. It might have been guarding eggs, but that’s just speculation on my part. It shows a green tint and also the blue spots and lines that give it its name.
In my attempts to identify what I see in the water, I use John P. Hoover’s book The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. His website is hawaiisfishes.com.