23 September 2009

Fishies at St. John's Island

There were a LOT of fishes among the thick growths of seaweeds on the shore today.
The sight of a Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma) reminded me to be even more careful about wading through the weedy waters. If we tread on one it can result in a painful sting! And there are usually a lot of rays on this shore.

Most of the other fishes were much smaller. There was a lot of splashing and I thought they were made by the annoyingly numerous Tropical silversides (Atherinomorus duodecimalis). But it turned out to be a school of these rather rotund little fishes. I see them often on our shores but I have yet to find out what they are.
Most of the fishes seen were very well camouflaged. Either silvery to blend in with the sand like the Chequered cardinalfish (Apogon margaritophorus), or they look like bits of seaweed like the brown filefish (Family Monacanthidae).
Near the rockier parts of the shore, there were a lot of Longspined scorpionfishes (Paracentropogon longispinis). They were quite small.
Sometimes mistaken for a scorpionfish is this False scorpionfish (Centrogenys vaigiensis). It actually belongs to the grouper Family Serranidae. Here's more on how to tell apart these two fishes and other fishes that resemble stones.
There were MORE fishies in the sandy areas. The Fringe-eyed flathead (Cymbacephalus nematophthalmus) has a really flat head with an enormous mouth, and blends right in with the sand.
The sandy areas were full of gobies of all kinds. Clockwise: probably the Ornate lagoon-goby (Istigobius ornatus), the Head-striped goby (Amblygobious stethophthalmus), Common frill-fin goby (Bathygobius fuscus), and a speckled goby that I'm not sure of the ID.
And there was this pair of gobies near one another at a burrow.
There were also small colourful fishes like this one which might be a juvenile Three-spot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus).
While this one might be a juvenile Yellow-banded damselfish (Dischistodus fasciatus).
Sheltered reefs like the one we visited today are a nursery for reef fishes!

Here's more about the other marine life we saw on the trip.

1 comment:

  1. The 2 dorsal fins and the squarish tail on the round little fish have always made me suspect that these are very young mullet, perhaps squaretail mullet (Liza vaigiensis).


    That last unidentified goby might be a species of Favonigobius. A Guide to Gobies of Singapore has 3 species listed, and I guess they do bear some resemblance to the goby in your photo.

    Can't wait to be able to have more free time to head out to the shores again!



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