Fish Life of Manzanillo

2012 June 2012 Nature Terry Sovil

By Terry Sovil from the June 2012 Edition

Tropical Flounder

Flounder are flatfish lying on their right side. Distance between their eyes is about 1 ½ times the diameter of the eye. They have blue spot-and-ring markings. They are from the family of flatfish and feature pale brown to gray; large diffused blotch behind their pectoral fin and another on the middle of their side.

They are elongated and oval-shaped with eyes on left (upper) side. They can pale or darken rapidly to blend with background. These fish are usually solitary and inhabit sand flats and rocky gravel strewn areas. When moving they glide over bottom with wave-like motion. They will remain still when approached, relying on camouflage. They will bolt when closely approached or if molested. Often called a “flowery flounder”, the range in size from 6 – 12 inches/15-30cm, maximum of 16 inches/40 cm.

Tube Blenny

There are over 22 unique tube blennies. This one is a Browncheek Blenny. They are found in depths of 3-200 feet/1 – 60 meters. This photo is of a female. These are solitary fish most common in shallow rocky areas where they live in mollusk tubes (worm tubes that have been abandoned). They will tend to ignore divers but will allow a close approach. They are common in central and southern Sea of Cortez. Tend to ignore divers and will allow a close approach.

They are of the family of Tube Blennies. They will allow a large black ringed brown spot on their gill cover. The female has an orange throat with large orange spots on their side. They grow They grow from 1 ½ – 2 inches / 3 – 5cm with a maximum of 2 ½ inches/6.25cm.

White Spotted (Stripebelly) Puffer

This fish is greenish gray with white spots and a dark circular area around pectoral fin base. They are from the family of Smooth Puffers. They range in depth from 10 to 80 feet / 3 to 24 meters. Their belly is pale with dusky stripes with their dorsal, anal and tail fins whitish translucent. Absent in the Gulf of California. They are seen occasionally on the Pacific Coast of Baja and tip of Baja. They are seen with some frequency in Manzanillo. They are generally solitary and inhabit rocky reefs, boulder-strewn slopes and walls. They seem curious and unafraid; often allow a slow, non-threatening approach. They are also commonly called a “Spotted Green Puffer”, “White Spotted Puffer”, “Deadly Death Puffer”, “Stars & Stripes Puffer” and “Miki Maki”. Their size is 6 to 10 inches / 15 to 25 cm.

Yellow Spotted Star

This star has large yellow to orange spots on the arms is the best identification. They are from the family of Starfish and inhabit shallow rocks and reefs to depths of 456′ (139m). They range from the Gulf of California to Peru including the Galapagos. This star fish reaches a diameter of 1 foot / 0.3m or 2.53cm.


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Terry Sovil

Terry is a founding partner and scuba instructor for Aquatic Sports and Adventures (Deportes y Aventuras Acuáticas) in Manzanillo. A PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) Master Instructor in his 36th year as a PADI Professional. He also holds 15 Specialty Instructor Course ratings. Terry held a US Coast Guard 50-Ton Masters (Captain's) License. In his past corporate life, he worked in computers from 1973 to 2005 from a computer operator to a project manager for companies including GE Capital Fleet Services and Target. From 2005 to 2008, he developed and oversaw delivery of training to Target's Loss Prevention (Asset Protection) employees on the West Coast, USA. He led a network of 80+ instructors, evaluated training, performed needs assessments and gathered feedback on the delivery of training, conducted training in Crisis Leadership and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention to Target executives. Independently, he has taught hundreds of hours of skills-based training in American Red Cross CPR, First Aid, SCUBA and sailing and managed a staff of Project Managers at LogicBay in the production of multi-media training and web sites in a fast-paced environment of artists, instructional designers, writers and developers, creating a variety of interactive training and support products for Fortune 1000 companies.

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