24 May 2009

Fascinating fishes of Tanah Merah

At super low spring tide, the water near the rock wall gets low, and all kinds of fishes jam into hiding places among the rocks.
There was a huge ball of these young Lined eeltail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus) swarming in the shallow water.

In the rather murky waters near the rocks were all kinds of fishes.
The blue fish is probably the Three-spot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus), while I don't know the identity of the fish in the photo on the right.

There were also many of these fishes.
They seem to be Bengal sergents (Abudefduf bengalensis), which are also damselfishes.

These look like cardinalfishes (Family Apogonidae).
I don't know the identity of the fish in the photo on the left. But the other one may be the Lined cardinalfish (Cheilodipterus sp.) because of the many lines and the little black spot near the tail.

Of course there were lots of gobies (Family Gobiidae) of all kinds.
I don't really know what kinds these are. But I completely missed them and was actually taking a photo of the hard coral. They only showed up clearly in the photo. In real life, they were perfectly blended with the encrusted rock!

It was really nice to see this goby that I usually only encounter near reefs.
The pretty Head-stripe goby (Amblygobious stethophthalmus) is usually seen in pairs and indeed, there was another smaller one nearby.

This colourful wrasse is often seen near seagrasses.
The Diamond tuskfish (Halichoeres dussumieri) can give a very nasty bite, so I didn't touch it.

The fishy find of the day was the bizarre Slender sea moth or sea robin (Pegasus volitans).
This odd long-nosed fish with wings has a hard body covered by a bony skeleton of rigid plates. Even the tail is enclosed in bony rings. It has a long stiff pointed snout that is made up of modified nose bones. The small mouth is found under the snout and is used to suck up tiny creatures on the sea bottom.

Chay Hoon found even more exciting fishes including groupers, moray eels and more: on her colourful clouds blog.

What an amazing shore this is! More about the other creatures seen during this trip.

Another amazing aspect of this shore is that I didn't come across much abandoned fishing nets or lines. So while there is some fishing going on here, it seems to be done responsibly.

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