Tag Archives: Wrasse

Belted Wrasse

A belted wrasse in the waters off Hawaii

Belted Wrasses are endemic to Hawaii. This one is a supermale, and while it’s not the greatest photo, I like how the light illuminates its bright colors with the vibrant blue lines particularly emphasized.

Incidentally, I’ve decided to start capitalizing the creatures named in the blog. I think it helps when proper names contain words that can be mistaken for descriptions. Now all I have to do is remember this decision!

Saddle wrasse

A supermale saddle wrasse in Hawaii
A juvenile saddle wrasse in Hawaii

Saddle wrasses are one of those fish where the juvenile looks nothing like the adult. The top photo shows an adult supermale. The second one shows the very different look of a juvenile. These differences are one of the challenges of identifying fish. My fish book offers a wide variety of photos, but it can require careful attention to identify what I’ve captured with my camera.

Watching an octopus

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

The easiest way to spot an octopus is to see it swimming (top photo). They’re not large creatures but they’re quite distinctive when they swim.

If they’re not swimming, one thing to look for is certain fish, such as goatfishes and jacks, just hanging around in a spot for no apparent reason. When these fish are hunting alone, they tend to be more active in probing the rocks and trying to disturb prey. But when they’re hunting with an octopus, they seem more content to let the octopus do the work and snapping up whatever emerges. I’ve found that goatfishes are particularly helpful as an octopus indicator.

A while back, there were videos online of an octopus apparently punching a goatfish. I wasn’t surprised by this. The octopuses I’ve seen don’t seem best pleased by the presence of goatfishes. Part of this might be down to feeling that the goatfishes are not pulling their weight in the hunt. But another factor might be that if goatfishes give away their position, for the octopus that can be fatal.

Octopus is a popular food in Hawaii and has long been so. If I’ve learned to look for goatfish as an indicator of their presence, then no doubt spear fishermen have too. These days, if I see an octopus when anyone’s spear fishing nearby, I don’t do anything to draw attention to it.

A day octopus in the waters off Hawaii

Bright fishes

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Something Fishy.’ See more responses here.

This seemed like a good opportunity to post a gallery of some of the fish I see when I snorkel around here. Most are brightly colored or have distinctive markings.

Also posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here.

Christmas year-round

In Hawaii, snorkelers get to celebrate Christmas year-round thanks to the Christmas wrasse. I’m not sure why it got that name – it has others – but I suspect it has to do with its colorful appearance. Regardless, I’m sure it would like to join me in wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

Blackstripe coris

The blackstripe coris, also known as the yellowstripe coris, is an endemic wrasse. According to my fish book, John P. Hoover’s The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals, it’s most abundant around the northwestern islands of the Hawaii chain. Around the main islands, mature females are uncommon and males rare.

The fish in the top photo is a large male. It has no black stripes, yellow stripes, or stripes of any kind, because this is one of those species where the male and female look radically different. This male was sparkling green in a variety of patterns. The other photo shows a female, which gives a better idea of why the fish got its name.

Hawaiian hogfish

The Hawaiian hogfish is an endemic species. Mature fish live in deeper water around the Big Island so juveniles and subadults are more often seen. However, this one is a mature female and, while they’re not commonly seen while snorkeling, they do pop up on a regular basis. They feed on molluscs, urchins, crabs, and stars amongst other things.