Tag Archives: Jacks

Yesterday’s swim

A small shoal of convict tang feeding.
I think this is a spotted coral blenny on a head of purple cauliflower coral, and possibly a small trumpetfish.

This is a second response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Waterworld.’ (See more responses here.) Yesterday, I posted about the movie Waterworld. Today, it’s a probably more expected response.

These are photos I took during my swim yesterday. Visibility in the water was patchy with some good areas and some not so good. I didn’t see anything startling, though the mackerel shads aren’t a common sight. Last time I saw such a shoal there was a great barracuda lurking on the other side. I looked around and, sure enough, there was another one looking interested as it cruised low down, too low for a decent photo.

The other oddity was in the photo at left. I saw what I think is a spotted coral blenny on this patch of cauliflower coral, and snapped a quick photo before it took off. But it was only when I processed the photos that I saw something else, to the left and slightly below the blenny. I think it’s a small trumpetfish, but it could be something else. A lot of small fish and other creatures hide in coral heads so I must pay more attention from here on.

In short, it was a fairly typical swim.

A shoal of mackerel scad on the left with yellow tang on the right.
Little fish enjoy the comparative safety of the shallow water in the surge zone.
On the left, a fourspot butterflyfish and a cushion star. On the right, black triggerfish are cleaned by a Hawaiian cleaner wrasse.
Just before getting out I saw this small Pacific trumpetfish with goldring surgeonfishes.

Threadfin jack juvenile

I posted a photo of a threadfin jack juvenile back in August, in part to illustrate the fact that I hadn’t seen any this year, which was unusual. September came and went without sightings, so I’d pretty much given up the thought of seeing one when October rolled around. But on October 2, I got in the water and soon bumped into this little fellow.

I don’t know why the sighting was so late this year. Possibly the murkier water this summer has something to do with it. But it’s no clearer currently, which is why that day was the only sighting I’ve had. I know other people have seen it since so it’s still around. But even if I don’t get a second look at this fish, I’m glad to have seen this one at all. They’re not often seen, but they really are spectacular little fish and I appreciate every encounter with them.

Threadfin jack juvenile

Threadfin Jack JuvenileThis week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Fake.’ See more responses here. I don’t really have many photos that fit this bill, but this one does. This exotic-looking little fish is a juvenile threadfin jack. This is a fish that will grow up to become large and blocky, living in deep water and rarely seen by snorkelers of divers.

But as a juvenile, while still not often seen, it hangs around in shallow waters towing this extraordinary array of filaments. The theory is that the filaments make it look like a jellyfish and thus much less appetizing to predators. The fish will putter along, then throw in a few moves that make the filaments ripple. The first time I saw one doing this, I thought it was a jellyfish. It faked me out, which is exactly the point.

Usually, each year I see one, two, or even three of these juveniles in my local snorkeling bay, but this year I haven’t seen any or heard of them being spotted by anyone else. Not sure why this is. The water has tended to be murkier than is usual in the summer, but otherwise not much has changed. May and June is the usual time to see them, but I have seen them as late as September, so there’s still time. (This photo is taken from a previous year.)

I hope one or two do show up. Seeing them is one of the highlights of the snorkeling year for me.

Bluefin trevally

A couple of bluefin trevallies seen while snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay. The area is a marine conservation district where fishing is prohibited. In general, I’ve found that fish in such districts are less skittish and more likely to approach snorkelers, so it’s a good place to get photos of some otherwise elusive fish.

Bluefin trevallies aren’t exactly elusive, but these two passed close by, unperturbed by my presence.

Rainbow runner

During a recent swim I was somewhat startled by the sudden appearance of these two large fish. I was close to shore when they shot past. At first I thought they were sharks, but quickly realized that wasn’t the case. They were just very big fish.

Their size, and the shape of their tails, made me think of jacks, and indeed they are. Rainbow runners are deepwater fish. They often congregate around floating objects, preying on smaller fish that gather there, such as mackerel scad.

The larger of these two, in the top photo, was probably around three-and-a-half feet long. Those smaller, dark fish are around 9 inches long.