Fish Life in Manzanillo

2011 Nature November 2011 Terry Sovil

By Terry Sovil from the November 2011 Edition

Jewel Moray

The Jewel Moray lives in depths from 15-80′. They are found in the southern Sea of Cortez and Pacific Coast mainland to Panama. Inhabiting rocky, boulder strewn areas and walls where they lurk in holes and crevices. Morays constantly open and close their mouths which for breathing and is not a threat. They can be curious and will often peer out from their holes exposing only their heads but retreat if disturbed.

They are from the family of “Morays”. You will observe gold to yellow or pale yellow spots with a dark outline, often brown to light brown and yellowish tax and sometimes dark markings. They have a pair of tubular nostrils and range in size from 1 to 1 ½ feet with a maximum of 2 feet.

King Angelfish

From the family of Angelfishes comes the beautiful King Angelfish. These beauties abide in depths from 15-100′. They like rocky boulder-strewn areas and are seen singly but also in large non-polarized schools. Whilst they have been known to clean larger fish including hammerhead sharks they tend to ignore divers so to get a closer view wait quietly in their course of travel or make a very slow approach.

Their transition from juvenile to adult is equally as colorful and beautiful having a distinct white bar behind their pectoral fin, a yellow tail and bright blue bands plus a dark blue body with yellow to orange markings on dorsal and anal fins.

There is a “crown” of light blue spots on their forehead. The Juvenile has yellow to orange head and fins with wide dark eye bar and a dark body with bright blue bands. They grow from 6-12” with a maximum of 15”.

Longnose Puffer

The Longnose Puffer has a mottled or blotched surface with shades of brown to olive with numerous small white spots. Uncommon to occasional in the Gulf of California and Pacific Coast of Baja to Panama they are generally solitary and feed over shallow sandy bottoms burying themselves in the sand at night. Seeming to ignore divers and tending to keep their distance. They are often called a “Concentric Puffer” and roam in depths from 3′ to 65′.

From the family of Smooth Puffers they have a row of darkish diffuse spots interspersed with white along lower edge of side and grow in size from 5 to 8″ to a maximum of 12″.

Mexican Goatfish

The Mexican Goatfish has a white head and body, often with some bluish tinting. Common from central and southern Gulf of California and Pacific Coast of Baja to Panama, usually solitary but frequently seen in large, polarized schools. They inhabit sandy areas and feed by digging in the sand with their barbells. At night they rest on the bottom and change their color and daytime pattern to reddish blotches. They tend to be wary and move away when approached but can be closely observed by waiting in their path or making slow, non-threatening movements and live in depths of 10 to 150′.

From the family of Goatfishes they feature bright yellow stripe on the middle of the body with a bright yellow tail. You will notice the two barbels under the chin. Their size is from 6 to 9″ to a maximum of 12″


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