Thursday, October 12, 2017

About those fish...

A couple of weeks ago...

I posted a few fishy pictures with the cryptic question "Have any ideas where these are, or where I am?" 

The SearchResearchers rose to the Challenge and were able to identify my location pretty well!  

Regular Reader Chris wrote in that: 

Picture 1 looks like some sort of Serranid- I'm guessing an Anthias which are widespread in the South Pacific, but it doesn't look like the endemic species for Fiji, but comparing google image searches for [anthias fiji] and [antihas vanuatu] tends to lean towards Fiji as the location 
Picture 2 is a Clown fish- once again could be anywhere in South Pacific- The yellow colour is different to what I normally see in Australia 
Picture 3 I don't recognise- maybe a clown fish again - I'm guessing this is the one that identifies the island group 
Picture 4 is a yellow tail fusilier - very common in both Vanuatu and Fiji

While Remmij and Ramón both identified the fish and the geography those fish cover.  They also figured it out as Fiji, but Remmij went on to check species co-occurence by trying to figure out what kind of anemone that particular anemone-fish was living with.  

That's a great strategy, and if I'd thought about it, I would have included a better picture of the anemone (which would have helped identify it).  

Alas, this particular anemonefish, Clark's Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) happens to be pretty undiscriminating:  "Clark's anemonefish is the least host specific anemonefish, living in association with all ten species of sea anemones that host anemonefish..."  

The SearchResearchers are superb.  Excellent job. 

But here's what I would have done:  I would have saved all of the images to my desktop and noticed that they look like this: 

Truthfully, I'd forgotten that I'd left all of the filenames on the images, so that when you saved them, you'd see all of the identifying information.  

You correctly identified the Anthius in pic #1, and the Clark's anemonefish in #2.  The anemonefish in #3 is a "Fiji anemonefish" (Amphiprion barberi), although in this case the color is a bit off, so it's difficult to tell.  

The "fusiliers on parade" are, in fact, Blue and Yellow Fusiliers (Caesio teres). 

And, when you look at all of these different fish geographical range, it's pretty much narrowed down to Fiji.  

Remmij is correct--we were on the island of Taveuni, which is a very well-known dive location, home to the Somosomo Strait, and one of the world's best locations to see soft corals, which I didn't include in this set of images--I thought it would be too much of a give-away!

But here's a bit of video from our dives that gives a great sense of what it was like.  Listen carefully--you'll hear humpback whales singing in the background! 

Great job, SearchResearchers! 



  1. missed the file names - good reminder to check.
    #3 - Amphiprion barberi (orange, broad white vertical body stripes, no longitudinal stripe) vs Amphiprion perideraion…
    hard to dispute ground/creator truth, but I was keying off the width of the white stripes as well as the white stripe that ran down the spine longitudinally - pinkish color seemed pretty close?
    Amphiprion perideraion also known as the pink skunk clownfish or pink anemonefish, is a species of anemonefish from the skunk complex
    Pink Anemonefish
    Skunk clownfishes in anemone - in the host anemone Heteractis magnifica
    close to your photo's pose
    fwiw -
    Ring of Fire

    1. More about fishes, Ocean and beautiful sites. Revillagigedo video
      I wonder if Dr. Russell have been snorkeling there and how many species Remmij and Dr. Russell identify in the video

    2. The video posted yesterday it is not available in other countries, so here is another link. Hope this works. Revillagigedo-islands video and more

      And another video from the expedition DeepSee Submersible in Action: Nat Geo Pristine Seas Expedition to Socorro

  2. The visibility is not great, recent weather event? Terribly jealous as I haven't been allowed to dive for 31 years! Nice work with the humpback song- alas, I've never made it to Fiji but done a lot of snorkelling in Vanuatu, so the fish all seemed familiar- not sure that they are only endemic to Fiji, but maybe the anemone are?? I forgot to add that I used the Australian Museum website as my starting point for identification - an amazing resource for divers collated by an equally enthusiastic ichthyologist.

    1. on twitter
      1 William Street
      Dan appears to be busy instructing…
      Journalism Interactive 2017 Program
      & @ NatGeo in D.C.:
      October 23, 2017 "Advanced Search Skills" National Geographic Society, Washington, DC (invitation only)