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You may need to zoom in to see the eyes, but this squinty looking fish looking up at you is a Speckled Sandperch (Parapercis hexophtalma). In a common posture for this type of fish, it is resting on the bottom propped up by its (not visible in this photo) pectoral fins. The color of the photo is correct, with its skin having a faint green hue. It feeds on small fish, shrimp and crabs, and can grow as large as 29cm/~11in long. This one was seen while scuba diving in the Red Sea in shallow water (~20 ft/6m) at the University dive site in Eilat on July 2, 2014.

#naturephotography #underwaterphotography #redsea #eilat #scuba #scubadiving #speckled #sandperch #parapercis #hexophtalma  

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Looking close at this Coral Colony (Acropora squarrosa), we see not only the school of small Blue-green Chromis (Chromis viridis) that hover above it, but also several that have hidden within its branches, having retreated for safety (perhaps feeling threatened as I approached with my camera).

A couple orange Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) are also to be found, but the special surprise, that you must look carefully (and maybe zoom in) to see, is located between the two bottom-most Blue-green Chromis: it’s a Christmas Tree worm (Spirobranchus sp.) in full display with it dual salmon-colored whorls extended. The worm moves the delicate parts of the whorls to create a current that allows it to suspension feed as well as breathe.

This scene was observed on July 2, 2014 while scuba diving in the Red Sea in shallow water (~20 ft/~6m) near Veronica Beach in Eilat.

#naturephotography #underwaterphotography #redsea #eilat #coral #acropora #squarrosa #chromis
#lyretail #anthias #pseudanthias #squamipinnis #christmas #tree #worm #bluegreen #viridis #spirobranchus #scuba #scubadiving  

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How many different species of fish do you see congregated around the coral mound in this photo taken while scuba diving in the Red Sea? I count at least 9 but, if you zoom in and pan around (which you really need to do to appreciate all the diversity), maybe you will be able to find more. If so, please post your observations in the comments.
The colors and lighting in this scene are a bit subdued because the photo was taken with just ambient light at a depth of around 25m (~82 ft). Color correction was applied to the photo, so the image, as seen here, is more colorful than how I saw the scene though my dive mask. However, it is about the same as how I saw it through the screen on the back of my camera, because I had calibrated the white balance of the camera, at depth, using my white plastic diving slate as neutral reference.
Scanning the photo from bottom to top, moving diagonally up the coral from right to left, here are the 9 species I see:
#1: Appearing in the bottom right (but also diagonally up and left of center), we see red fish with large, dark black eyes and white trim on their fins: these are Pinecone Soldierfish (Myripristis murdjan), and they are generally nocturnal, with their large eyes adapted for nighttime vision.
#2: Immediately in front of the bottom two Pinecone Soldierfish, swimming away from us, is an oval shaped grey patterned fish with a white spot on its side near the dorsal fin.  If you look carefully, you’ll see several more of these in the picture, including two that are swimming straight towards us, above and to the right of this fish in the picture.  These are Domino Damsels (Dascyllus trimaculatus) and they have a spot on each side as well as one between the eyes, although the forehead spot may sometimes be absent.
#3: Continuing to move left through the picture we see a gold colored fish, with several more in the scene; these are Basslets (Pseudanthias sp.) of some sort, and although it is somewhat unclear to me from the photo, these may, more specifically, be female Striped Basslets (Pseudanthias taeniatus), that despite their name aren’t striped.  Or maybe they are the Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) also known as the Lyretail Fairy Basslet (in which case I should increase the species count by one, while leaving the genus count unchanged). Regardless of what they are, further above and to the left, you see a red fish with a lateral stripe and pink dorsal, caudal, and anal fins and belly. These are assuredly male Striped Basslets (Pseudanthias taeniatus) that are striped per the advertising in their name.
#4: Continuing up and to the left, we see a light colored fish, swimming away from us, with dark eyes and dark edges on its caudal fin (and with a couple of these also seen in the distant background): it’s a female Zebra Angelfish (Genicanthus caudovittatus).  The males of these fish have dramatic vertical stripes (hence the ‘Zebra’ in the name), but the females are relatively plain, as seen here.
#5: Closest to us, facing to the right, and also seen in the upper left corner of the photo, is a dark colored fish with white caudal and pectoral fins.  I believe it to be a Yellow-edge chromis (Chromis pembae), although the yellow accent on the dorsal fins is not evident in this photo.
#6: The centerpiece of this scene, the large reddish, spotted fish with subtle vertical stripes is a Coral Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata). They can grow to 50 cm (~ 20 in), which this one is probably close to in length based on the expected sizes of the other fish in this picture.
#7: Below, to the left of the Coral Grouper, we can see a couple smaller fish with yellow highlights on the forehead and orange-accented forked tails.  These are Miry's Demoiselle (Neopomacentrus miryae)
#8: Just behind the mouth and tail of the Coral Grouper, are two different Crown Butterflyfish (Chaetodon paucifasciatus), with their vertical black and yellow stripes and bold orange accent in front of their caudal (tail) fin. If you want to see a much better picture of one of those, see my earlier post:

#9: If you look carefully just below the top left corner of the coral mound you’ll see a fish that is light colored in the back and brown in the front.  Although, according to the Encyclopedia of Life (  its preferred common name is the Two-tone Puller (Chromis dimidiate), you can understand why some also call it the Chocolate-dip Chromis.
So that’s my list.  If you find others or have suggested corrections, please put them in the comments.
Now, I started this post stating this photo was taken at a depth of about 25m, but how did I know that?  Well, as it turns out that only 45 seconds before taking this picture, I happened to have snapped a picture of my dive computer display which  read a depth 84 ft (~25.6 m), and so I figured that I must still have been near to that depth when I took the photo.
But, then, I became intrigued with the question of whether the diversity of fish in the photo could also be a clue as to the depth, and so using data found at the Encyclopedia of Life (, I looked up the habitats, which has the depth at which they are seen, for each of these nine species.  Here are the results:
1) Pinecone Soldierfish (Myripristis murdjan) 1-50m
2) Domino Damsels (Dascyllus trimaculatus) 1-55m
3) Striped Basslets (Pseudanthias taeniatus) 10-30m
4) Zebra Angelfish (Genicanthus caudovittatus)  2-70m
5) Yellow-edge chromis (Chromis pembae) 25-50m
6) Coral Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) 2-150m
7) Miry's Demoiselle (Neopomacentrus miryae) 2-25m
8) Crown Butterflyfish (Chaetodon paucifasciatus) 4-65m
9) Two-tone puller / Chocolate-dip chromis (Chromis dimidiate) 1-36m
Certainly this is a wide range of depths, but if you intersect them all, you get 25m, which is very close to what my depth gauge reported less than a minute earlier.  Maybe a coincidence, but a good one!
This scene was captured while scuba diving in the Red Sea at the Paradise dive site in Eilat on July 2, 2014. As mentioned above, this photo was taken at about 25 m (~82 ft), but the deepest point of the dive overall was slightly deeper, down to 29 m (95 ft).

#redsea #eilat #scuba #scubadiving #underwaterphotography #naturephotography #pinecone #soldierfish #domino #damsel #striped #basslet #zebra #angelfish #yellow #edge #chromis #coral #grouper #mirys #demoiselle #crown #butterflyfish #myripristis #murdjan #dascyllus #trimaculatus #pseudanthias #taeniatus #genicanthus #caudovittatus #pembae #cephalopholis #miniata #neopomacentrus #miryae #chaetodon #paucifasciatus  

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And the award for the fish with the most spots goes to… the Yellowtail Wrasse (Anampses meleagrides). Not surprisingly, it is also known as the Dotted Wrasse, the Speckled Wrasse, and the Spotted Wrasse. They can grow to 22 cm (~8.7 in) in length. In the picture the mouth seems to disappear and be a bit out of focus, but that is largely due to the fact that the coloration of the mouth fades to white, with much less contrast to its many spots.
Seen on edge, following close behind, is a Crown Butterflyfish (Chaetodon paucifasciatus). A much better view of one of those can be seen in one of my earlier posts (
This picture was taken while scuba diving in the Red Sea in shallow water (~20 ft/6m) at the University dive site in Eilat on July 2, 2014.

#scuba #redsea #eilat #naturephotography #underwaterphotography #chaetodon #paucifasciatus #butterflyfish #yellowtail #wrasse #anampses #meleagrides #spot #dot #speckled #spotted #dotted  

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There are many species of yellow/orange, vertically banded fish that live among sea anemones, and, amazingly enough they are not all named "Nemo"!  Based on its animated appearance, “Nemo,” with its orange body, 3 white stripes with thin black outlines, was likely based on the Amphiprion ocellaris Clownfish; but there are 29 currently known Amphiprion species, and, in the Red Sea, you’ll instead encounter the Two-banded anemonefish (Amphiprion bicinctus), which, like other anemonefish, lives symbiotically, protecting the toxic anemone that gives it a safe home in exchange.

This video was recorded on July 1, 2014 toward the end of a dive at the Moses and Joshua Rocks dive sites at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve in the Red Sea in Eilat, Israel.

#naturephotography #underwaterphotography #scuba #scubadiving #clownfish #anemonefish #symbiotic #amphiprion #ocellaris #bicinctus #underwatervideo #eilat  
#findingnemo #nemo  

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Just yesterday I posted a photograph of a Spangled Emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus) from a scuba diving adventure at the Paradise dive site of the Red Sea in Eilat ( This got me searching my archives, and I found that later that same day I happened to catch one on video; so, if you want to see what one looks like swimming, take a look at this very brief movie.
As mentioned in my previous post, Spangled Emperors (Lethrinus nebulosus) have pastel colors that can be tricky to photograph, but as this one comes around the coral mound, in the clear and relatively shallow water, it becomes illuminated by the sunlight, showing its bronze color and electric blue accents. As it leaves the direct light, it fades from view almost blending in with the sand.
If you enjoy this video, you also might like "Camouflaging Octopus in the Eilat Red Sea" (, "A Moray Eel on the Move in the Eilat Red Sea" (, "A Really Brief Swim with the Masked Pufferfish in the Eilat Red Sea" (, and "Triggerfish Signals 'Move Along' in the Eilat Red Sea" (
This video was taken while diving at the Veronica Beach dive site of the Red Sea in Eilat on July 2, 2014.

#scuba #scubadiving #redsea #underwaterphotography #underwatervideo #naturephotography #spangled #emperor #Lethrinus #nebulosus  

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With a few exceptions (this not being one of them), the pictures you can find online of the Spangled Emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus), swimming underwater, do not fully do it justice. Part of the reason, I think, is that its pastel coloration requires good lighting to fully appreciate, and so unless the photo is taken with a flash, or very close to the surface, the yellow/bronze body, with its accompanying light blue spots, appears bland and washed out.

In the case of this specific photo, aside from the fish, the overall contrast was not that great to begin with. As I researched the identity of the fish and its true coloration, I made adjustments to the lighting during the RAW -> JPG conversion process. I think this closely represents the true appearance of this fish (at the expense of the background which consequently appears too red and dark).

The Spangled Emperor is found widely distributed from East Africa to Japan as well as around the coast of Australia, not to mention the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. It is tolerant of low salinities, allowing it to live not only in the marine environment but also in estuaries. It has been documented to grow as large as 87 cm (almost 3 ft) long, but is more typically 70 cm (> 2 ft). It has been known to live to 28 years, assuming it is not caught by a fisherman (you can find quite a few pictures online of fishermen holding their caught Spangled Emperor – the colors in those photos, incidentally, is quite good, but not good for the fish!)

This Spangled Emperor was observed in relatively shallow water (just not shallow enough for good lighting) shortly after leaving the shore to dive at the Paradise dive site of the Red Sea in Eilat on July 2, 2014.

#scuba #scubadiving #redsea #eilat #underwaterphotography #naturephotography #spangled #emperor #Lethrinus #nebulosus  

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So, did you hear the one about the Klunzinger’s Wrasse (Thalassoma rueppellii), Broomtail Wrasse (Cheilinus lunulatus), and Red Sea Goatfish (Parupeneus forsskali) that met in the shallow (~20ft/6m) waters of the Red Sea in the vicinity of Veronica Beach in Eilat? The Klunzinger’s Wrasse said to the Red Sea Goatfish, “I know why you’re here: we both feed on benthic macrofauna, invertebrates that live on or in the sediment.” The Klunzinger’s Wrasse continued, “But, I don’t get what our friend with the big bushy tail is doing here: aren’t Broomtail Wrasses more like epibenthic macrobenthos feeders, eating hard-shelled invertebrates, especially mollusks?” In this way the Klunzinger’s Wrasse simultaneously demonstrated both its knowledge of marine trivia and why it is considered a bore at parties.

The beautiful, rainbow colored Klunzinger’s Wrasse and friends were seen while scuba diving on July 2, 2014. A few moments later, I caught up with the same Broomtail Wrasse and got a better picture of it in side profile, which you can see here: For a better picture of a Red Sea Goatfish, albeit a different fish, see:

#scuba #scubadiving #redsea #eilat #underwaterphotography #naturephotography #klunzinger #wrasse #thalassoma #rueppellii #broomtail #cheilinus #lunulatus #goatfish #parupeneus #forsskali #benthic #macrofauna  

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Here we see a Striated Surgeonfish (Ctenochaetus striatus) with its fine lines and dramatic orange-accented fins. If you zoom in, just between the main body and the tail (the region known as the caudal penduncle) a short horizontal line, that is not quite continuous with the other stripes on its body, can be seen. Contained within this line is the reason they are known as ‘Surgeonfish’: a hidden pair of razor sharp spines, one such ‘scalpel’ on each side of the body, that can pop out with a flick of the tail. When threatened, they expose their weapon to slash at whatever is the cause of concern.

But wait, what’s that in the background? It’s a Spotbase burrfish (Cyclichthys spilostylus) resting under a coral ledge, as they are known to do in the daytime. Similar to a Pufferfish, these fish can inflate themselves when threatened, but they are not Pufferfish who are members of the Tetraodontidae family and whose spines are only visible when inflated. Instead, the Spotbase burrfish belongs to the Diodontidae family, more commonly referred to as Porcupinefish, and whose spines are visible even when ‘at rest’.

Both of these fine fish were observed in the last couple minutes of a dive to the Joshua & Moses Rocks dive sites in the Red Sea in Eilat on July 1, 2014.

#scuba #scubadiving #naturephotography #underwaterphotography #redsea #eilat #striated #surgeonfish #ctenochaetus #striatus #scalpel #spotbase #burrfish #cyclichthys #spilostylus #pufferfish #porcupinefish #diodontidae #tetraodontidae  

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This photo is, unfortunately, only half complete. Here we see one of Steinitz' prawn-goby fish (Amblyeleotris steinitzi) standing guard outside an opening to its burrow. But missing from view is the symbiotic Alpheid Shrimp with which it lives.

The burrow’s entrance, at the tail end of the fish, appears characteristically reinforced with bits of shell. The shrimp must be inside, potentially having been tipped off by the fish, via a flick of its tail on the long antenna of the nearly blind shrimp, alerting it to the potential danger of a large, approaching diver.

Generally speaking, the fish is the early alert system providing protection for the shrimp, while the shrimp does all the work of digging out the burrow where both take refuge during the nighttime hours. This one was observed in shallow water shortly after leaving the shore to dive at the Paradise dive site of the Red Sea in Eilat on July 2, 2014.

#scuba   #scubadiving   #naturephotography   #underwaterphotography   #steinitz   #prawn   #goby   #amblyeleotris   #steinitzi   #alpheid   #shrimp   #symbiosis   #redsea   #eilat  
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