Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wheee!!! Eleven manta rays at the night dive tonight!

I was just checking my mail before heading to bed and got tonight's manta report. Gobs of mantas at the dive site tonight. We have two locations where we see mantas, the last few weeks the one off the airport (which has been the most reliable the last 5 or 6 years) has been nothing but no shows. Every now and than they just go elsewhere for a while. Tonight there were eleven mantas. Just in time as I've got a few night dives lined up the next week and a half or so. The other site has fairly consistantly had 1-2 mantas for about the last 6-7 months, but generally doesn't see anywhere near the number of mantas the airport site does when they are appearing. Hopefully we're good for a few weeks or months from here on.

The picture above is of a group of Shoulder Tangs (also known as Orange Shoulder Tangs or Orangeband Surgeonfish - Acanthurus olivaceus) feeding on algae. If I didn't mention it before, tangs (surgeons) are primarily herbivorous and keep the reef clean of algaes. These fish go through an interesting color change from juvenile to adult. The juveniles in Hawaii are yellow and are often mistaken for Yellow Tangs. Even some DMs here occasionally don't realize the difference. I'm thinking these fish mimic other fish as juveniles as back in the pet shop days I occasionally received related juveniles mimicking other fish. I was getting shoulder tangs or other very closely related juveniles out of Indonesia which actually mimicked Eiblii Angelfish and Pearlscale Angels, both of which aren't even in the surgeon family. Anyway, they go from yellow to an olive or gray with the orange stripe here in Hawaii.

Aloha and good night,



Bailey said...

I love the pictures on your blog!

But I'm waiting for the pics of the underwater change :-)

The Complimenting Commenter said...

Those are some interesting fish. I didn't realize they could imitate others. Very cool. And that's good information about the mantas. Hopefully they stick around for awhile for you. Great post.

Steve said...

Thank you both,

I'm not absoultely certain that they are mimicking, but similar species definitely do it in other parts of the world. We do have a few fish here that mimic for certain though. I saw a juvenile filefish that mimicked a lagoon trigger down at Kahalu'u once... I had to look close. I'd seen examples of it in one of the public aquariums on Oahu or Maui.