Although it is possible to scuba dive elsewhere on Madagascar, all of these animals were photographed in the waters around Nosy Be.
Butterflyfish look like smaller versions of angelfish, but do not have preopercle spines on the gill cover. There are about 129 species.
Lined butterflyfish, Chaetodon lineolatus
Chevroned butterflyfish, Chaetodon trifascialis
Saddleback butterflyfish, Chaetodon falcula
Rip butterflyfish (Indian Ocean redfin butterflyfish), Chaetodon trifasciatus
Painted butterflyfish, Chaetodon pictus
Threadfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga
Klein's butterflyfish, Chaetodon kleini
Schooling bannerfish, Heniochus diphreutes
Bennett's butterflyfish, Chaetodon bennetti
Angelfish are found in shallow reefs in the Atlantic, Indian, and mostly western Pacific Oceans. There are about 86 species.
Emperor angelfish, Pomacanthus imperator (adult and juvenile)
Threespot angelfish, Apolemichthys trimaculatus
Royal angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus
Semicircle angelfish (Koran angelfish), Pomacanthus semicirculatus
The Moorish idol, Zanclus cornutus, is the only species in its family and is common in tropical and subtropical reefs and lagoons throughout the Indo-Pacific.
There are about 370 speies of cardinalfish. They have large mouths and their dorsal fins are divided into two parts. Most are found in tropical or subtropical waters and are mainly nocturnal. In some species males brood the eggs inside their mouths.
Golden cardinalfish, Apogon aureus
Tiger cardinalfish, Cheilodipterus macrodon
Firegobies are dartfishes native to the Indoan and Pacific Oceans. There are four species.
The red firegoby (fire fish, fire dartfish), Nemateleotris magnifica, is found over patches of rubble or sand where it can dart into a hole when alarmed. Adults are usually in pairs.
Soldierfish and squirrelfish:
Soldierfish and squirrelfish are found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atltantic Oceans, with most species in the Indo-Pacific. They are mostly nocturnal and so have large eyes. Most are red or silvery. Soldierfish feed on zooplankton. Squirelfish eat small fish and invertebrates and have sharp preopercle spines near the gill opening which are venomous.
White-edged soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan
Silver soldierfish, Myripristis melanosticta
Yellowtip soldierfish, Myripristis xanthacrus
Crown squirrelfish, Sargocentron diadema
There are twelve species of bigeyes.
Common bigeye (lunar-tailed bigeye, goggle-eye, moontail bullseye), Priacanthus hamrur
Hawkfish perch motionless on coral, braced by their pectoral fins, to ambush their prey. They have large heads and thick bodies. The tips of their dorsal fin spines have trailing filaments.
Spotted hawkfish (coral hawkfish), Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus
Forster's hawkfish (black-sided hawkfish), Paracirrhites forsteri, is the most common Indian Ocean hawkfish.
Stingrays are cartilaginous fish related to sharks.
Blue-spotted stingray, Telatrygon sp. (formerly Dasyatis sp.)
Lizardfish are bottom-dwelling bony fish found throughout the world in shallow coastal waters.
Gracile lizardfish, Saurida gracilis
There are about 40 species of triggerfish found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide, with most species in the Indo-Pacific.
Giant triggerfish (titan triggerfish, moustache triggerfish), Balistoides viridiscens
Halfmoon triggerfish, Sufflamen chrysopterus
Rabbitfish (spinefoots) have large dark eyes and small, rabbit-like mouths. There are 28 species, native to shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific. Two spcies have also colonized the eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. The fin spines have venemous glands.
Brown-spotted rabbitfish, Siganus s. laqueus
Snappers include 113 species, found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. Fusiliers are Indo-Pacific fish that feed on plankton and are related to snappers. There are 23 species.
Black-and-white snapper, Macolor niger (juvenile)
Ehrenberg's snapper, Lutjanus ehrenbergii
Variable-lined fusiliers, Caesio varilineata
Yellowback fusilier, Caesio xanthonata
Common bluestripe snapper (bluestripe sea perch, blueline snapper), Lutjanus kasmira
Bigeye snapper, Lutjanus lutjanus
Bluelips snapper, Lutjanus rivulatus
Five-lined snapper, Lutjanus quinquelineatus
Breams are narrow, deep-bodied fish. Threadfin breams (whiptail breams, false snappers) are native to the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans. There are 17 species.
Arabian threadfin bream (Arabian monocled bream), Scolopsis ghanam
Whitecheek threadfin bream (whitecheek monocle bream), Scolopsis vosmeri
Wrasses include more than 600 species. They are carnivorous and feed on small invertebrates. Most species live in tropical or subtropical waters. Cleaner wrasses groom larger fish and eat the parasites and dead tissue and scales they remove. Wrasses include hogish and parrotfish.
Red-breasted splendour wrasse, Cheilnus fasciatus
Cryptic dwarf wrasse, Pterogogus cryptus
Common cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus
Moon wrasse, Thalassoma lunare
Lyretail hogfish, Bodianus anthioides
Juvenile checkerboard wrasse, Halichoeres hortulanis
Diana's hogfish, Bodianus diana
Diamond sand wrasse, Anampses caeruleopunctatus
Sling-jaw wrasse, Epibulus insidiator
Spottail sand wrasse, Coris caudimacula
There are more than 2000 species of gobies, small, bottom-dwelling fish.
Hector's goby, Amblygobius hectori
Maiden sleepgoby, Valenciennes puellaris
Decorated goby, Istigobius decoratus
Yellowspot dwarfgoby, Eviota sebreei
There are 65 species of sandperch. They live on sand or rubble in shallow seas.
Speckled sandperch, Parapercis hexophtalma
Rock basslets (dottybacks) are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There are 71 species.
Sankey's rock basslet (striped dottyback), Pseudochromis sankeyi
Fairy basslets are found in the Indo-Pacific. There are 63 species of these colorful fish. They eat zooplankton and are haremic.
Jewel fairy basslet (sea goldie, lyretail coralfish, lyretail anthias, scalefin anthias), Pseudanthias squamipinnis
Groupers have a stout body with a large mouth for swallowing prey whole.
Potato cod (potato grouper), Epinephalus tukula
Blacktipped grouper, Epinephalus fasciatus
Malabar grouper, Epinephalus malabaricus
Bluespotted grouper (roi, argus grouper, peacock hind, peacock grouper, peacock rockcod, celestial grouper), Cephalopholis argus
There are about 95 species of parrotfish. They are found in relatively shallow tropical and subtropical oceans, with most species found in the Indo-Pacific.
Blue-barred parrotfish (blue trim parrotfish, cream parrotfish, globe-headed parrotfish, green-blotched parrotfish, yellow-scale parrotfish, bluechin parrotfish), Scarus ghobban
Bicolor parrotfish, Cetoscarus bicolor (juvenile)
There are about 200 species of moray eels, most found in salt water and a few in fresh water.
Giant moray, Gymnothorax javanicus
The Indian Ocean crocodile fish (carpet or tentacled flathead), Papilloculiceps longiceps, is related to stonefish and scorpionfish. It is found in the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea, and has invaded the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. They use theiur camouflage to ambush their prey.
Lionfish are venomous fish native to the Indo-Pacific. They are also called zebrafish, firefish, turkey fish, and butterfly-code.
The Indian lionfish (devil firefish, common lionfish), Pterois miles, is the most common Indian Ocean lionfish. The species has also invaded the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. The fin spines are dangerously poisonous.
Sweetlips are grunts which have big, fleshy lips. Most species live in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. There are 31 speices.
Blackspotted sweetlips (blackspotted rubberlip, African grunt), Plectorhinchus gaterinus, is the most common sweetlips in the Red Sea and the western Indian Ocean.
Minstrel sweetlips, Plectorhinchus schotaf
Emperors are found from the eastern Atlantic through the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. There are 27 species.
Orange-striped emperor, Lethrinus obsoletus
Yellowspot emperor, Gnathodentex aureolineatus
Boxfish are squared bony fish related to pufferfish and filefish. There are 23 species. They swim in a rowing manner. Their hexagonal plate-like scales are fused together into a solid box-like carapace.
Yellow boxfish (cube boxfish), Ostracion cubicus. The immature fish (right) is bright yellow. As the fish ages the color fades.
Surgeonfish, tangs, and unicornfish:
Surgeonfish, tangs, and unicorn fish number about 86 species. They have scalpel-like spines (one or more) on either side of the tail. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are large, extending for most of the length of the boday. They graze on algae. Unicorn fish have a rostral protuberance, a horn-like extension of the forehead. They are found from Africa to Hawaii.
Elongated tang, Acanthurus mata
Whitetail tang, Acanthurus thompsoni
Yellowfin tang, Acanthurus xanthropterus
Epaulette surgeonfish, Acanthurus nigricauda
Brown sailfin tang, Zebrasoma scopas
Long-nose unicornfish, Naso brevirostris
Humpback unicornfish, Naso brachycentron
The Trevally is one of a family of fish which includes jacks, pompanos, jack mackerels, runners, and scads. They are fast-swimming predatory fishes that hunt in the waters above reefs.
Bluefin trevally, Caranx melampygus
Herring scad (duskyfin crevalle, trevally scad), Alepes vari
Damselfish and clownfish:
There are 385 species of damselfish and clownfish.
Damselfish live in tropical coral reefs. They eat small crustaceans, plankton, and algae. Many species are very territorial.
Mauritius gregory, Stegastes pelicieri
White-belly damsel, Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster
Blue-green puller (green chromis), Chromis viridis
Humbug damsel (whitetail dascyllus), Dascyllus aruanus
Blackedged puller, Chromis nigrura
Indian Ocean puller, Chromis axillaris
Threeline damsel, Pomacentrus trilineatus
Twobar damsel (cloudy dascyllus, Indian dascyllus), Dascyllus carneus
Arabian damsel, Neopomacentrus miryae
Lemon damsel, Pomacentrus sulfureus
Bowtie damselfish (black damsel, bluefin, royal damsel), Neoglyphidodon melas
Marginate dascyllus (Red Sea dascyllus), Dascyllus marginatus
Maldives damselfish, Amblyglyphidodron indicus
Three-spot damsel threespot dascyllus, domino damel, domino), Dascyllus trimaculatus
Yellowside damsel, Amblyglyphidodon favilatus
Miry's damsel, Neopomacentrus miryae
Blue-yellow damsel, Pomacentrus caeruleus
Bicolor puller, Chromis dimidiata
Brown-yellow puller, Chromis xutha
Scissor-tail sergeant, Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Clownfish (anemonefish) form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones. Most are yellow, orange, reddish, or blackish, and may have white bars or patterns. They are native to the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (there are none in the Atlantic). They are omniverous and can feed on undigested food from their host anemone. Fecal matter from the fish provides nutrients to the anemone. They primarily feed on small zooplankton.
Skunk clownfish (nosestripe anemonefish), Amphiprion akallopisos
Madagascar anemonefish, Amphiprion latifasciatus
Pufferfish have spines which are only visible when the fish has puffed up. They eat crustaceans, algae, and mollusks. Most species are highly toxic.
Solander's sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster solandri
Valentin's sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster valentini
Barracuda are large predatory fish found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. There are about 28 species.
Blackfin barracuda, Sphyraena qenie, are the most common barracuda in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, forming large densely-packed schools.
Needlefish (long Tom) are piscivorous fish found in shallow waters and near the surface of the open sea. They have a long narrow beak and sharp teeth.
The Crocodile needlefish (houndfish), Tylosurus crocodilus, is a pelagic species that inhabits costal waters. They feed mainly on small fish.
Cornetfish (flutemouth) include four species, found worldwide in tropical and subtropical oceans.
The blue-spotted cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, is common on sand slopes and coral reefs in shallow water.
Remoras (suckerfish) have distinctive first dorsal fins in the form of a modified oval, sucker-like organ with slat-like structures that open and close to attach by suction to the skin of larger animals. Remoras lack swimbladders.
Striped remora, Echeneis naucrates
Batfish are Indo-Pacific spadefish. There are five species. Adults are disc-shaped.
Longfin batfish, Platax teira
Circular batfish, Platax orbicularis
Trumpetfish include three species of elongated carnivorous marine fish with long tubular snouts. They are related to seahorses and cornetfishes. Two species occur in the Atlantic and one in the Indo-Pacific.
The Chinese trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis, hangs vertically among branches of coral to ambush prey. They can be many different colors.
Molluscs are the largest marine phylum. Molluscs have a mantle with a significant cavity used for breathing and excretion, a radula (except for bivavles), and a nervous system.
Tiger cowrie, Cypraea tigris
Textile cone shell, Conus textile; note that this animal is venomous
Bivalve are molluscs with laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a she;; consisting of two hinged parts. They have no heads and lack radula. Most are filter feeders.
Coral scallop, Pedum spondloideum
Thorny oyster, Spondylus sp.
Winged oyster, Pteria sp.
Cock's comb oyster, Lopha cristagalli
Giant clam, Tridacna sp.
Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine gastropod molluscs that shed their shells after the larval stage.
Phyllidiella cf lizae
Flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have no body cavity but have flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has one opening for both ingestion and egestion.
Sea cucumbers are echinoderms with a leathery skin and elongated body. There are more than 1700 species, mostly in the Asia Pacific area.
Graeff's sea cucumber, Bohaelschia graeffi
There are about 1500 species of sea stars. The greatest diversity of species occurs in coastal areas. They are generalist predators.
Cushion sea stars, Cucita nouvaeguineae, have short arms and an inflated appearance, and are variable in color. They are found throughout warm Indo-Pacific waters.
Granular sea star, Choriaster granulatus
Sea urchins are related to sand dollars. They move slowly, feeding primarily on algae.
Sea anemones are predatory animals related to corals and jellyfish. Unlike jellyfish they do not go through a medusa stage.
Magnificent anemone, Heteractis magnifica
Bubble anemone (bubble-tipped anemone), Entacmaea quadricolor
Tube anemones (tube-dwelling anemones, ceriantharians) look like sea anemones but are not closely related. They are solitary and live buried in soft sediments. The tube, into which the animal can withdraw, is made of mucus and threads of phychocysts. The crown of tentacles has two whorls. The large outer tentacles are used to capture food, and the inner ones to manipulate and ingest it.
Spiny lobsters (langusta, langouste, rock lobster) resemble true lobsters but are not closely related. They have very long, thick, spiny anetennae.
Painted spiny lobster, Panulirus versicolor
Tunichates (ascidians or sea squirts) have a tough outer "tunic" made of cellulose. Water enters through the oral siphon and exits through the atrial siphon.
Tall urn ascidian (green barrel sea squirt, green reef sea-squirt), Didemnum molle
Stalked club sea squirt, Clavelina detorta
Sponges are multicellular organisms whose bodies are full of pores allowing water to circulate through them. Sponges have no nervous, disgestive, or circulatory syste,s. The constant water flow through their bodies brings in food and oxygen and removes wastes.
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Last modified 10 November 2017