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Grand Cayman Fish


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 07:50 AM

Unfortunately I do not have the excellent 3rd Edition of Paul Humann's Caribbean reef fish. So this chap might well be in there. Fellow wetpixellite Giles "Digitally Wet" Shaxted spotted a group of these fish in about 1 ft of water. They were very skittish - and it was surgey - so I couldn't get a shot of the whole fish. This is clearest shot I got.

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#2 marriard

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 08:56 AM

Alex - how big?

If small (i.e. in the 2-3 inch range) then this is a Mushroom Scorpionfish (scorpaena inermis).

If bigger then it is possibly a Barbfish - but I would consider that highly unlikely considering the depth and the proportions of the fish.

Actually let me edit this message - there is absolutely no doubt this is a Mushroom Scorpion - the head shapes pretty much confirm this 100%.

M

#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for the ID. I forgot to say the size. They were about 2 inches long - so from what you say that makes them S. inermis.

In the water I thought that facially they were very scorpionfish like - but the fact that they were so skittish and there was a group of them made me very unsure - not typical scorpionfish behaviour in my experience. But then I had never experienced these guys before.

These shots were taken in the entry pool at Dive Tech turtle farm.

Thanks again,

Alex

here is the only other image I have - which shows even less of the fish!

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#4 Giles

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 04:59 PM

i cant believe its not a Blenny ..

look at the little wiskers coming off its face .. just like a blenny

the colourations and skin texture are completely different and the lips are different ..

it is so not a mushroom scorpion fish

i dont care if you wrote the book on fish names its so not

i'll argue this one till im proven right .. granted i dont see these guys too often .. but the place (ricky inshore shallow area) they were and their behaviour (resting on reef, shy but curios would reappear easily and easily approached with slow motions) and first glance looks and now from Alex's photos all suggest they are blennys to me

I am so right .. i just dont know what sort they are !

look at the eye colourations too so a blenny !! and you all know it !!


(sorry to go off on one .. just its not a scorpion fish .. you should know better alex !)

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#5 wetpixel

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 05:09 PM

My book is 30 miles away, so I can't go looking for it. But look at the eyes! they look like a scorpion's eye.
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#6 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 05:22 PM

It's 'Tufty' the defused scorpion blenny - I have however, been wrong before :D

#7 Giles

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 05:38 PM

ok eye wise blenny and scorpion fish have very similar eyes

the big thing in my mind that makes this a blenny is that iridescent blue colour

andt he fact that i dont think we get those mushroom scropiion fish in Cayman .. infact the only similar ones we have around here are Reef Scorpion Fish which are about 2 - 4 inches long but size wise it could be either that or a blenny.

So is a Blenny
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#8 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 05:51 PM

The pectoral posture in the first shot is certainly more blennyish than scorpion.

#9 mandarinfish

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 07:14 PM

The pale spot on gill cover and head structure make this look like a downy blenny (Labrisomus kalisherae) to me. But that would make it a sighting in a previously unreported area (according to Humann). There's a similar species called puffcheek blenny (L.bucciferus), but I haven't found any further info.

#10 marriard

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 08:40 PM

The pale spot on gill cover and head structure make this look like a downy blenny (Labrisomus kalisherae) to me. But that would make it a sighting in a previously unreported area (according to Humann). There's a similar species called puffcheek blenny (L.bucciferus), but I haven't found any further info.

Hmmm, this is a tough one on all these species...

Puffcheek Blenny is starting to look better and better to me as I go through various images I have...

I have a few id features on this species that may help - their should be two dots behind the eye (I think I can see these in the second image) and a wide band below the eye (which I am positive I see). We don;'t have an image of the body but perhaps you remember whether it was barred or not (4-5 bars are common on this species.

Tough one Alex - great find whatever the final consensus turns out to be.

M

#11 frogfish

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Posted 08 January 2004 - 09:46 PM

I don't know anything about Caribbean species at all, but from the structure of mouth, eye, and the pectoral fin, I just can't see this as a blenny. Certainly looks like something in the scorpionfish family to me.

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#12 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 02:44 AM

I am glad this is causing some debate. The worst thing when you post a critter ID question is to find out it is something very common! That everyone knows. Thanks for your input.

I am starting to favour Labrisomus sp. Fishbase has a line drawing of L.k. and no image of L.b.

Giles, did you get any images of them? I realise that they won't have been the easiest subject (being skittish and in the surge) with the shutter lag on your Oly. We were there on Sunday, obviously, 3rd August - if it helps you find any shots.

Seeing the whole body - or at least more of the dorsal fin - would really help.

Alex

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#13 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 03:01 AM

Having searched the web for a few Labrisomus images I am now more confident that this is teh right genus.

Here is L. nuchipinnis from further North. This has a clear operculum spot.

Posted Image

Here is another image of a Pacific member of the genus: L. xanti

Posted Image

These blennies are in their own family (not blenniidae) but Labrisomidae.

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#14 Giles

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 05:21 AM

I like that ID Alex

the blue spots match up as do the fins and the tufts above the eyes etc.

I dont have any images unfortunately due to all the camera problems i was having .. I believe my batteries went dead for the 4th time that day !

If these Blennies are in a family of hteir own from further North is it possible to have them in Cayman as well .. how further North are you talking ? Florida ?

And as for being in an unreported area .. quite possible Divers in Cayman are too busy drinking after they finish diving to report any fish, we just enjoy them while we are down !!

The coolest thing about this image is its what Cayman is all about .. the smaller stuff .. esp. htings like blenny's. You wouldnt normally look twice at them .. but down here, there are so many with slightly different features and behaviours it's cool to make out the different types.

These guys did completely grab my attention, and I love diving with Alex cause I can normally just get his attention and go "hey .. whats this buddy ?" and he'll say something like "ganaticus sporticus adaptila" or something i may understand.

I had completely forgotten about these guys.

If anyone else wants to have a go at these fella's turtle reef with dive tech, just in the little bay where you get in the water .. literally right next to the ladder on the left!

just very happy its a blenny after i very passionately disagreed earlier !
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#15 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 07:16 AM

Hey Giles,

I think that Mandarinfish got these right when suggesting Labrisomus kalisherae or L. bucciferus. Embarrassingly I have photos of dead specimens of both in a book just above my desk!

I think that relying on species ranges for IDs is going to be unreliable, because as you say despite many divers there are few actual studies (particularly of small brown blennies) in Cayman. From my dead specimen photos I would go for L. kalisherae. But I think from the images I took - which don't show the whole fish i can't be certain. I'll have to go back there next time I'm in Cayman!

Oh, and Giles, I wouldn't really say we dive together! You are always nipping back to the car half way through the dive to change batteries!

Alex

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#16 Giles

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Posted 09 January 2004 - 07:19 AM

shush now .. my battery problem is only due to my cheapness of using rechargeable batteries and never replacing them when they get old and tired !

and besides ... im not the Marine Biologist who cant tell the difference between a Scopion Fish and a Blenny !!
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