Never having had any formal marine biology training, the more diving I did, the more interested I was in what I was seeing, and why it behaved the way it did. For example why would certain species only come out at night, and hide at any sign of light but other species are swimming up to your face during the day almost saying “Look at me, look at me!”.
While I was working as a videographer it was easy for me to film something new and look it up in the fish book but not everyone has a camera with them. One really good way of learning what fish you’re looking at is to first learn the family – something which is a lot easier than you might think. There are a few characteristics that can help with determining the fish family:
- Body shape
- Fin configuration
- Mouth/jaw shape
- Habitat and behavior
- Propulsion method
Once you’ve figured out the family, it’s a case of looking it up in a fish guide (of which there are plenty of good ones out there – two of my favourites that cover most species are: Reef Fish Identification – Tropical Pacific, and Reef Creature Identification – Tropical Pacific) or asking somebody more knowledgeable for help and then if you’re like me you start seeing that particular fish everywhere! I then try to find out more about their behaviour – such as is it a day or night fish; does it hang out alone or in a pair or in a group; is it a reef fish or pelagic; and then I start wondering about what it eats, carnivorous or omnivorous; the list of questions can go on for a long time, and eventually you’ll end up a fish geek like most divers I know!
To find out some unique facts about marine life, just click on the photo and it will take you to the page. Stay tuned as I will keep adding new and interesting facts about the critters we fall in love with.