Seeing your typical highfin grouper in the second post having both the white saddles and yellow fin margin makes me more confident that the one in the first post is indeed a highfin grouper.
There are several reasons I "know this stuff". Most important is probably that I'm a self-identified fish geek and have been since early childhood. Another is Reef Fishes of the East Indies, a somewhat pricey but priceless three-volume set of books with virtually all known reef fish in the coral triangle and areas west up to and including the Andaman Islands of Thailand. I've also found it to be very accurate unlike many other ID books. Another good, though certainly not error-free or complete resource is fishbase.
Unfortunately I only get to make one dive trip per year, but if I go I tend to make a lot of "slow dives", preferably solo or, better, with a like-minded buddy rather than a group and dive master. On one occasion I made 50 dives on the same house reef in a 3 week trip. I love that because you get a lot of time to really look at all the fish, get a feeling for their behaviours, habitat preferences and subtle differences with time of day, mood, developmental stage, or just intrinsic variability. If you look at them in detail you also get a sense of what aspects tend to be conserved within species and which are variable. That even helps when identifying fish you have never seen before, such as the Pseudocoris yamashiroi.
Finally, I am working on a website to help myself and others in learning about identification, distribution, typical habitat and behaviour. That means I have spend a lot of time looking through all my images. The framework is almost finished and then I will start adding more species. You can have a sneak preview here
When it is ready for prime time I'll announce it here on wetpixel.
- Nick Hope likes this