Angelfish – Species of the Reef


This is another of the vibrant and colourful fish found commonly seen our our trips to the Great Barrier Reef. There are over 80 different species of Angelfish. Most of which are about 30 cm (12″) long. Most of the different species exhibit a friendly and curious personality and often come over to investigate what the divers are doing on their turf. Smaller species such as the bi-coloured angel are very popular with home aquariums. Angel fish are found at all levels of the bommie fields, from the surface to swimming around the base of the reef formations and seabed.
The angel fish changes colours as it reaches maturity, and can also change sex if the male in the group disappears. If this happens the dominate female in the group will then become the male. The angel fish releases it’s eggs to float with the plankton until hatched.
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Cuttlefish – Species of the Reef


This is one of the coolest fish on the reef or one of my favourites anyway. He just hangs out relaxed taking everything in his stride. They can often be seen hanging on the back edges of the reef and the juveniles often hang out by our mooring lines. The cuttlefish is related the squid, octopus and nautilus. The cuttle fish can also change colour (as the photo below demonstrates) and uses ink to defend itself.
The bone inside the cuttlefish is used for birds in the home and is often washed up on the beach or seen drifting on the ocean.
A couple of interesting facts about the cuttlefish are that they have amongst the best eyesight in the world although they do not differentiate colour the same as we do. The other fact is they have three hearts and green-blue blood instead of the usual red. Maybe this is why they act so cool, they have similar characteristics to the Vulcans from Star Trek.

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The Parrot Fish – Species of the Reef



One of the most colourful fish on the Great Barrier Reef in the Parrot Fish. So named because of the parrot like beak which it uses to eat algae off coral and other organisms off corals. They are essential to the ecology of the reef and their gardening plays a pivotal part in the survival of the reef. The parrot fish feeding on the reef ensures that algae does not suffocate the reef. The coral they eat is ground up and excreted as sand.
Most of the Parrot Fish family grow to about 30-40 cm (12-16″). They release their eggs into the ocean where the eggs float until settling in the reef until they hatch.

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Anemone Fish or Clown fish – Species of the Reef


OK, I was holding off including these little fellas, as they are superstars in their own right already and we were respecting their privacy as celebrities. It is tough for these guys to just blend in with the crowds anymore and the simplest of tasks such as taking the kids out often ends in a frenzy of paparazzi. But due to popular demand I have to include them.
There are 28 different types of clown fish, the largest being about 18cm (7″). The clown fish forms a symbiotic relationship with its host anemone and will defend its home with vigour. Spawning season lasts all year. The female lays their eggs next to the host anemone, which they then are guarded by both parents. The eggs take 7 days to hatch and hatch about an hour after sunset to avoid predators.
Now how does the clown find find his way home? Research at JCU suggests that the anemone fish smells the scent of the host anemone. When the baby clown fish are ready to move out and find a place of their own they use this scent to locate a suitable anemone.

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