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.
Schools of Whitebar Surgeonfishes are fairly common where I snorkel most. They cruise around rocky areas, feeding on algae. Often they can be seen with other reef fish such as Convict Tangs or Whitespotted Surgeonfish, seen in the background of the lower photo.
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.
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.
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.
Needlefishes travel in one direction near the surface, while convict tangs go the opposite way on a lower level. It’s not unusual for fish to have a particular level they operate in.
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.
The ring around the eyes of these fish, which gives them their name, also gives them a look of perpetual surprise.