Wednesday, September 11, 2019

SearchResearch Challenge (09/10/19): What's the relationship between these two fish?

I'm scuba diving again ... 

... I know--not a big surprise.  But this time I'm diving with friends on a tropical island, taking a few underwater photos and finding remarkable things that require a bit of research when I get topside.  

In today's Challenge, I'm diving somewhere in the tropics, and today I saw these two fish.  

What's odd, though, is that these fish seem to have some kind of strange relationship that I can't quite figure out.  

Can you? 

(This is a fun fishy SearchResearch Challenge.  It will test your query formation skills and your ability to combine two ideas and find their relationship.)  

1.  Here's Fish #1.  They hang out in rocky crevices, alway near a kind of purple glaze on part of the rocks.  What kind of fish is this??   (For reference, it's about 4 inches long.)  

This is a bit of an unusual shot.  Normally there would be hundreds of these fish swimming all around.  

However, whenever I'd see a fish like this, there would ALWAYS be fish like this nearby: 

(You see several examples of Fish1 in the backwater.  Fish 2 are the larger ones in the top of the photo.) 


2.  What kind of fish is Fish 2?  (It's about 7 - 8 inches in length.)  

... and the REAL question... what is the relationship between Fish 1 and Fish 2?  

Usually Fish 1 chases Fish 2 out of the crevices, but every so often Fish 2 would zoom into the crevices for a few seconds before darting out again.  

3.  What's going on when Fish 2 quickly swim into the crevices with purple glaze?  

4.  Where is Dan now?? 

Can you answer these questions?  

Be sure to let us know HOW you find the answer to the Challenge.  

Search on! 


  1. Indo-Pacific Sergeant
    Raccoon Butterflyfish(Chaetodon lunula)
    still working 3
    back in Hawaii…

  2. My guess is 1 an Indo-Pacific sargeant, and 2 a raccoon butterflyfish. Sargeant fish fish eggs are subject to egg predation by a number of species, including butterflyfish. These are wide ranging species. Hawaii would be easy, but it could be French Polynesia or Great Barrier Reef or even east Africa. I started by looking Humann & Deloach to see if it was Caribbean ( smaller search space) and the went to Allen, Steele, Humann, and Deloach Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific. I suspected it was egg predation and verified online that sargeant egg predation is common. Is that a saddle wrasse? If so, I would say Hawaii.

  3. 3. I think you are diving where there are Semicossyphus pulcher (I believe I see one in the background of photo 2). That is a species of wrasse native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. Its range is from Monterey Bay, California, to the Gulf of California, Mexico. I know Monterey is nearby to you, so I'm guessing that location.

  4. PS. I recognized the fish from visits to the Monterey Bay Acquarium.

  5. Replies
    1. Hi Remmij. I was thinking the Abudefduf fish could be Troschelii and not Vaigiensis. Why? Dr. Russell's fish has not yellow eyes nor dot in the body. What do you think?

      Read on Animal Planet, these two 🐟 can be on aquarium with caution.

      New word for me: Demersal

    2. With [Damselfish relation Butterflyfish] [Butterflysish around(3) Indo-Pacific Sergeant] tried to find the relation between the 2 fish.

      I also tried searching Indo-Pacific Sergeant identification, and Raccoon fish qualities and data.

      Dr. Helen Scales's photo: the sergeant major and butterflyfish The thread is interesting and full of photos. Also didn't know about Ningaloo.

      Read about Sergeant Major. Also tried ["sergeant major" eggs Butterflyfish]

      Butterflyfish feast on Sergeant Major eggs by Russell Gilbert Hawaiian Style
      Another photo

      As I mention on previous post, my guess is that Dr. Russell Major is "sergeant major" troschelii. Where they are?
      Currently known distribution: Eastern Pacific: throughout the Gulf of California and from Bahía San Juanico, Baja California, Mexico to northern Peru, the Galapagos Islands and other offshore islands

      Tried to visit Dr. Russell's Google Site( and got Url not in server. My intent was to check if he had some conference and after that, time to Scuba Diving.

    3. hi Ramón - given the location, still thinking it is Indo-Pacific… maybe Abudefduf russelliosis? ;>
      Abudefduf troschelii, Panamic sergeant-major
      on the Med? - Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis

    4. nice photo find Ramón… kinda defines what Dan saw… think the purple glaze was a 'red herring'? mahalo…
      ([ORIGIN: so named from the practice of using the scent of red herring in training hounds.])
      it's a feast… or annihilation (large format)

    5. Hi Remmij!
      Probably you are right. Searched for range and distribution for both fish and I think Dr. Russell is again in Hawaii. "My fish" has different location.

      Also, new for me is the plural of fish. So, searched and found fish works as plural too and when more than one kind of fish, on scientific papers specially, fishes could be used as plural too

    6. ahhh, the 13th… & a Friday to boot… regarding plural…
      I was partial to fishi but guess that was too confusing with 'fisheye'… and then there are scales…
      like the level
      does Dan use such a beast to capture his fish?
      meanwhile, on the beach…
      here's looking at you
      an optical SERP
      from Quora:
      "The passage is speaking of when Ananias(by God's power) heals Saul's blindness. Saul was saved and thereafter became Paul. “The scales have fallen from my eyes”means that now your mental or spiritual blindness is absolved, and you can see clearly, just as Paul was healed both physically and spiritually."

    7. Good Morning 😀

      Just to share that this morning visited Amazon and found out that The Joy of Search Kindle version is already there 📖 for those that want digital copy and not on paper

  6. Sergeant Major and Butterfly fish. Butterfly fish are notorious egg eaters and the SM guards the nest to prevent this. I think you're in Hawaii.
    How? I recognized the Sergeant Major (from diving), so did a Google search for sergeant major, and confirmed with images from then I googled [fish yellow dark white stripe] and spent time using the organization of The Fish Directory and decided that butterfly fish looked close to the second fish. Finally, I googled [butterfly fish sergeant major] and learned from the Maui Ocean Center about the info in my first sentence

  7. Looked like a good chance to try Yandex. Fish1 and Fish2 were both instantly identified. So that works well to get me started.

  8. went back and re-read… noticed the emphasis on 'tropical island'… thought you might opt for close, familiar & convenient?
    tropical SERP
    feel close, but no cigar…
    interesting, but don't see a corollary…
    coral glaze & color (purple)
    Purple Haze, not glaze
    Hawaiian Haze — not suitable for diving…

  9. I tried to search the picture on Google images with no luck. A description "tropical fish with blue stripes on white and yellow on top" brought up images of Sergeant Major which were spot on. Description of the other fish finally brought up Raccoon Butterfly fish (also many pictures of the two together).
    I put the two together "racoon butterflyfish and sergeant major fish" to see if there was any common connection and found this article: on the Maui Ocean Center site. It explains that the "purplish-red, protein and fatty rich eggs are a high target for other reef fish including triggerfishes, wrasses, butterflyfishes, and even other sergeant fishes."

  10. off subject a tad, but related…
    is there a glitch, complete overhaul or something else? >
    404 to the waybackmachine…

    Yandex… GooDex blend
    interesting image search results…
    for comparison…

    1. Yeah... I just noticed this as well. I did an overhaul of the site, and seem to have broken it somehow. Will work on it over the weekend!

  11. regarding purple color…
    a subsequent query…
    used [Abudefduf saxatilis spawning behavior]
    Florida Museum
    adding purple: [Abudefduf saxatilis spawning behavior purple protein]
    "Chromis multilineata differed from Abudefduf saxatilis and Stegastes ..... saxatilis clutches are purple patches of eggs of around."

  12. speaking of Apex… maybe hanging in the Hawaiian coral isn't so bad…
    it could always be worse…

  13. did you visit this Hawaiian location in between dives?
    any idea why it would be in the news recently?
    an ephemeral record
    ""Deep in a tunnel under a pineapple field — a subterranean Pearl Harbor-era former airplane factory — I sat at a terminal from which I had practically unlimited access to the communications of nearly every man, woman and child on earth who'd ever dialed a phone or touched a computer.""