When I see very red fish hanging around in deep recesses in the rocks, I assume they’re soldierfishes. That’s what I thought this was, so I was a bit puzzled when I couldn’t identify what kind of soldierfish it was.
It was much later that I was thumbing through my fish identification book, looking for something else, and happened on the pages for bigeyes. I’d never heard of them before. There were only two listed and this one is the common bigeye. It’s most easily distinguished by its slightly convex tail, as opposed to the slightly concave tail of the other one, the Hawaiian bigeye.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Happy Place.’ See more responses here.
There were a few options for this theme, but I went with this collection because I love going snorkeling and because, just a few days ago, my wife and I revisited Two Step for the final time before Hawaii loosened its restrictions on visitors. We got up early, drove down, and were in the water around 7:45 am. There were two other people swimming at that time, no one else waiting to get in.
The top photo was taken after our swim, around 9:30 am. In a ‘normal’ year, at this time of day, this whole area would be dotted with groups of people, and chairs and mounds of towels left by people already in the water. The bay would also be similarly populated with people, cruising around, looking at fish. There would be several snorkeling tour boats out in the bay, dumping people into the water. Two Step is one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island but, truth is, much of the time it’s kind of a zoo.
However, one of the nice things about Two Step, that I’ve mentioned before, is that it’s a marine reserve. No fishing is allowed and the fish have figured that out. I can’t emphasize enough how differently the fish there react to people than they do in areas where fishing and spear fishing is allowed. They’re so much more mellow and less inclined to dart away.
Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.
Soldierfishes are nighttime plankton feeders. By day, most rest in sheltered spots such as under ledges, in caves, or in deep holes in the rocks. Pearly soldierfishes area little different in that, during the day, they rest in the open just above the reef.
Like all soldierfish, the pearly soldierfish is notable for its large eyes and reddish coloration, though usually with the pearly sheen that gives it its name.