Clowning around?

By | August 7, 2017

I’ve learnt to spot my favourite clownfish now, by catching that flash of orange. Here at Gadji I’ve been lucky enough to see a variety of different species of clownfish.  But a few snorkels ago, I spotted another fish that I have not seen before. It has the most amazing colorful patterns. It’s called a clown triggerfish.

It was approx’ 20 cm long, quite stocky and had a small mouth like a parrotfish, but I could not see its eyes (and looking at the photos, I still can’t). It’s predominate colour is black but the contrasting white spots and yellow-orange-ish mouth, along with it’s yellow patterned and soft green tail, make this fish a ‘stand out’. I was hooked.

I was lucky enough to see three of these clown triggerfish … or maybe I saw one three times? I don’t believe so. Either way, I had plenty of time to get some photos. I followed each one, taking multiple photos. The trick was to get close enough, as all three were quite deep on the side of the drop-off. I’ve learnt to duck dive on limited breath but with a camera in one hand, getting deep enough is tricky, as I tend to float to the surface pretty quickly. This is where the sequential setting on my camera kicks in. All I need is a few great pics and I am happy. Usually on a snorkel trip I take 700 or so photos and I manage to reduce these to 40 or so good ones, with a bit of editing.  Less for my blog posts.

The clown triggerfish is quite shy, often hiding in the rocks around the coral. I’ve since learnt they lock themselves in to small openings with their trigger fin and bite down on coral or rock to ensure their safety. From my googling research I’ve also found they reside in the Indian and Pacific oceans, thus New Caledonia.

Here’s a few photos of my clown triggerfish…

And my clownfish (anemone fish) … I’ve managed to see quite a variety of different clownfish (I’m not totally confident on the accuracy of my identification here, but have given it a try) – a cinnamon clownfish, a clark’s clownfish, a red & black clownfish … and my last treat … a pink skunk clownfish living in this amazing anemone.

Here’s a few titbits about the clownfish …

  • Clownfish can change their sex! All clownfish begin their life as males, if the dominant female of the group dies then one of the males will develop in to a female … say no more!
  • Despite their ‘clown’ name, the clownfish is an aggressive fish and very territorial. Ahh … c’mon?! We all love Nemo and all my pics of clownfish show a smile!
  • The anemone the clownfish live in, is a flesh-eating animal but looks like a plant. It has a poisonous sting that the clownfish can tolerate.
  • The female will lay their hatch only on a full moon.
  • They can lay around a thousand eggs at one time and all can survive.  I’ve seen many young ones.


3 thoughts on “Clowning around?

    1. Amanda Post author

      Thanks Gary & Annie. Have seen so many over here, and all different types. You have taught me well Gary!

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