Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Search Challenge (9/22/15): Fish ID

As you know... 

... I'm actually on vacation this week.  More on that later, but I'm trying to NOT spend much time online.  For what it's worth, I'm completely failing at this.  

However, I thought I'd post a purely fun Search Challenge this week.  It's not hard to figure out, but perhaps some energetic SearchResearchers will discover some fun facts about these IDs.  

I'm in the western Caribbean, and I'm seeing a bunch of extremely interesting animals.  Can you figure out what these are?  I'm looking for (a) common name, (b) Latin binomial name.  (And, if you find one, an interesting factoid or story about each.)  

What can you dig up on these? 






This Challenge is purely for fun.  Let us know what you find out! 

Search on! 


  1. 1 Blue parrot fish
    2 blue shrimp and anemone
    3 Bristle worm
    4 Honeycomb cowfish
    5 Spotted moray

    Super convenient to hover over image & at the bottom of my screen names were provided. Did you mean to give these to us? I hope to come back later but off to another spanish class right now.

    1. Ah... RATS! I forgot about the file names. :-( I was just having too much fun while writing this and was selecting images *visually* from some of my photos. I forgot that I'd labeled them earlier. Ah well... reading file names is also a great technique worth knowing.

  2. You made it a little bit too easy by letting the file names include the fish common names themselves. Nevertheless, on some of them I had to rely on different methods, including Search by Image and checking carefully the corresponding FishBase's descriptions and photos.

    Whenever I have any doubt about fish, my main resource is This is of no use for any non-fish marine species. For those, I'm using WoRMS, not quite sure if it's the best database available online (it's well less detailed than FishBase); I also used Wikipedia and checked sources when available.

    1. Blue parrotfish. Scarus coeruleus. From FishBase: "reports of ciguatera poisoning" (meaning: don't eat it; "ciguatera is a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fish whose flesh is contaminated with a toxin made by dinoflagellates such as Gambierdiscus toxicus which live in tropical and subtropical waters." - Wikipedia dixit, via Google Answer Box).
    2. ("Blue shrimp and anemone") (found initially through an Image Search of an image crop) Pederson's shrimp (a species of Cleaner shrimp). Ancylomenes pedersoni. From the Marine Species Identification Portal: "lives in association with a variety of sea anemones, Lebrunia danae, Bartholomea lucida, Bartholomea annulata and Condylactis gigantea" (the last one seems to be the anemone on the photo); "When approached carefully with an extended hand, it may come out of its protection to clean it." Nice and funny info on how they clean fish on the Wikipedia article.
    3. ("Bristle worm") There are over 10,000 species of brisle worms (aka polychaetes), divided into >80 families. Because "each of the over 80 families living today have characteristic body shapes and chaetal types" (WoRMS), I guess it's safe to say that the species on the photo is a fireworm — ie, belongs to the Amphinomidae family (found similar creatures though Search by Image). I just downsized the sample of electable species to less than 300 (check here and click on "List Species"). One of the most common, and to a layman very similar to the one on the photo, is Hermodice carunculata. Another common one is Eurythoe complanata. Very interesting facts on this Advanced Aquarist article.
    4. Honeycomb cowfish. Acanthostracion polygonius. From FishBase: "Uncommon and wary" (wow, I guess it must have been quite a sight then). From Smithsonian Bocas Database: "Can darken, pale and change colours."
    5. Spotted moray. Gymnothorax moringa. From FishBase: "Usually seen with its head protruding from a hole and the rest of its body concealed" (just like the picture). "Observed to be unusually aggressive towards man ". "Its bite is very dangerous" (morays' teeth are really impressive).

    1. Yeah.. my mistake. But nice follow-up research! Well done. (And you're right to point out -- it's quite a good site.)

    2. Thanks.

      I decided to do the kind of image search Ramón has done today, but this time for binomial nomenclature. So for the long search string [ Scarus coeruleus Ancylomenes pedersoni Condylactis gigantea Eurythoe complanata Acanthostracion polygonius Gymnothorax moringa ] (or substituting Hermodice carunculata for Eurythoe complanata), all results that are relevant point to Florent's Guide To The Florida, Bahamas & Caribbean Reefs, parte of Florent's Guide To The Tropical Reefs. This looks indeed like a valuable resource for divers.

  3. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    I read the names of the animals. And, I'll try to find them without that.

    [Bonaire fish identification]

    Some fishes There are Parrotfish, Honeycomb, Spotted Moray, Porcupine fish.

    [Bonaire Anemone] In Images: Purple Tipped Giant Anemone.

    Bonaire Reef Images

    [bonaire purple tipped anemone scientific name]

    Like the one Dr. Russell took.

    [Bonaire Shrimp]


    [Pederson Cleaner Shrimp]


    (a) common name: Blue parrot fish
    (b) Latin binomial name : Scarus coeruleus
    (C) an interesting factoid or story about each: We did a SRS.

    (a) common name: Blue shrimp
    (b) Latin binomial name : Pederson Cleaner Shrimp

    (C) an interesting factoid or story about each: Blue Shrimp are beautiful too.

    They are generally respected by other creatures, often sharing burrows and holes and working as housekeepers.

    Anemone: Condylactis_gigantea

    Pederson at Cozumel

    (a) common name: Bristle worm
    (b) Latin binomial name: Polychaete.
    (C) an interesting factoid or story about each

    [bonaire bristle worm scientific name]

    14 Fun Facts About Marine Bristle Worms


    4. [honeycomb cowfish unknown facts]

    (a) common name: Honeycomb cowfish
    (b) Latin binomial name : Acanthostracion polygonia
    (C) an interesting factoid or story about each: Tange they can change color at will.

    The bodies of Boxfish are covered in a toxic mucus which can be released when stressed.

    Common Names

    5. Search by image. Black and white caribean fish

    (a) common name:Spotted moray
    (b) Latin binomial name: Gymnothorax favagineus
    (C) an interesting factoid or story about each: Pattern continues inside the mouth...they move water through their gills for respiration and are very shy.

    Great post Luis and amazing photos and very interesting Challenge, Dr. Russell.

    1. [blue parrotfish blue shrimp spotted moray honeycomb cowfish]

      Cowfish Eye Next photos are beautiful too.

      And, yesterday read about The crown-of-thorns sea star, very interesting too.

    2. Thanks Luis for your post. As you said your link is very useful and valuable resource, that was one of Dr. Russell's sources for Parrotfish Challenge. Glad that you find another way to search and find it. And of course, glad that you share with us.

      I just found other interesting pages.

      [Caribbean bristle worm]
      Reefkeeping, Worms

      [bristle worm]
      ReefCorner, Worms


  4. …guilty of dawdling and am late to the search so will restrict my observations & contributions… hope the vaca wrapped well & you don't need a post-vacation vacation…
    was surprised there was no mention of the Barreleye
    especially given your location & depth - it would have been a most unusual sighting for all parties…
    watching the conga line
    …in regard to #4 - the Honeycomb cowfish - I did run across a couple interesting factoids/images:
    this one may be dubious, but your photo seems to confirm - sometimes, in the threatening presence of an Atlantic goliath grouper or itajara,
    the cowfish has been observed to spontaneously excrete a scuba diver… would qualify as a "Ripley's event"
    little Acanthostracion polygonius
    apparently we will soon be able to dial-up our own genetic code versions…
    genetic code
    the whole genetic code thing may need some refinement…
    horned Highland cowfish
    similarity in pattern, might be a "moo thing"
    cow & honeycomb related - Reticulum or “Honeycomb”
    not directly fish related, but I did run across this and given Dan's affection for the UK, I thought he might want to give Welsh surfing a go next time he was in the UK…?

    1. Hello Remmij! Thanks for sharing links about Barreleye, eol and ncbi. Very interesting. About Cows, I saw a video in which scientists to try to produce less gas, made a hole in the cow to watch digestion. The poor cow was living and without problems but I can not watch that so who know what they discovered.

      Great week everyone,

    2. No question that the Barreleye is an incredible fish, but they live at depths to which I dare not descend. Nice link, though...