Tag Archives: Surgeonfish

Convict Tangs and a Surge Wrasse

A surge wrasse swims in front of a school of convict tangs in the waters off Hawaii

I was photographing this school of Convict Tangs when I saw this initial phase Surge Wrasse swimming in the opposite direction. This is not a fish I see too often and it’s one which my fish book describes as ‘one of the most difficult Hawaiian fish to photograph.’ I think this is because of its scarcity and it’s tendency to spend a lot of its time close to shore in shallow, surging water.

Convict Tangs

A shoal of convict tangs in the waters off Hawaii

The aptly named Convict Tangs are distinguished by six vertical black bars against a yellow-green background. One of these bars crosses the eyes, a feature common in many fish, which is thought to help confuse possible predators.

Convict Tangs are usually seen in large schools, again a tactic to deter predators.

A shoal of convict tangs in the waters off Hawaii

Fish at Viper Rock

Fish swim in the waters off Hawaii

On the coast where I snorkel, there’s a spot known locally as Viper Rock. This is where a very large Viper Moray Eel used to reside in a recess in the rock. I haven’t seen him lately, but it’s also a good spot for a variety of fish so I go down there regularly.

On this day, I approached the rock from the shore side and noticed these Whitebar Surgeonfishes swimming by. Then I noticed the Great Barracuda that can be seen in the background against the edge of the farther rocky outcropping. A few moments later I saw another one, and then a third.

It appeared that the barracuda ohana that frequents that area was around in force. Rather than cross to the other side of the ridge by Viper Rock, where the barracudas were, I returned the way I came. A couple of barracudas looked like they might follow, but quickly lost interest. Their interest in people appears to be related solely to the possibility that those people will snag some fish which the barracudas will then hope to steal.


A greeting on the sea floor at Two Step, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills color challenge theme is ‘Teal or Aqua.’ See more responses here. I’m going underwater for a selection of aquatic aquas.

The top photo shows what happens when divers have too much time on their hands.

Next, we have some Square-spot Goatfishes and a few Orangeband Surgeonfishes meandering over a patch of sand. Then a Bullethead Parrotfish displaying a variety of colors. And a shoal of Hawaiian Silversides going hither and yon over a rocky bottom.

Finally, a couple of Spinner Dolphin photos, where they swam below me over an aqua background.

Spinner Dolphins in the waters off HawaiiA Spinner Dolphin in the waters off Hawaii

Pacific Trumpetfish

A pacific trumpetfish and two yellow tangs in the waters off Hawaii

A Pacific Trumpetfish drifts in the water as a couple of Yellow Tangs pass by. Trumpetfishes often hang vertically, head down waiting to snag a meal. They also change color and markings to blend in with other fish, hoping to sneak up on prey.

Trumpetfishes looks easy to spot, but they propel themselves with dorsal and anal fins set far back on the body where they’re not seen by potential prey and, from the front, which is where its prey is, they’re very hard to see.