Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Reef Fishes – Reef Life of the Andaman – Part 9

Reef Fishes – Reef Life of the Andaman – Part 9


A visit to the island of Koh Tachai often provides a special treat for divers: a large and easily approached school of teira batfish. The underwater landscape here is characterized by large granite boulders which provide the type of shelter that the batfish love. Hanging in the current, sometimes on their side, the batfish are very easily approached. Batfish take their name from their elongated pair of pelvic fins. Other varieties in the area include the pinnate batfish, seen here at Koh Bon and the similar golden spadefish, seen here in a school at Koh Torinla in the Surin Islands. This batfish’s tall proportions mark it out to be a juvenile. Very young batfish can be 3 times as tall as they are long. This striking design belongs to a young emperor angelfish. In adolescence, angelfish undergo a dramatic metamorphosis. The adult’s masked face and striped body are nothing like the young. The entirely different appearance of the juveniles is thought to protect them from adults of the same species, which otherwise might attack them to protect their territory. The distinctive blue ring angelfish can be seen on many Andaman dive sites individually or in pairs. The Similan islands also host regal angelfish and blueface angelfish. This individual from Boulder City bears deep scars and trails fishing line from its mouth. Butterflyfish brighten up any reef and there are many species in the Indian Ocean. This is a pair of copperband butterflyfish at Anemone Reef. and these are Meyer’s butterflyfish in the Similans, often found mixed with black pyramid butterflyfish. The raccoon butterflyfish is one of the most distinctive species. They are often mixed with redtail butterflyfish, the most common member of the family in the area. Bannerfishes are common throughout the area and are characterized by a very long spine at the front of the dorsal fin. Schooling bannerfish can be seen in shoals close to the reef or hanging above it feeding on zooplankton. At first glance the moorish idol may be mistaken for a bannerfish. It bears similar form and coloration, but belongs to a totally different family. Nevertheless they show similar habits. Like the bannerfish they can be seen alone or in large schools. These sailfin tang are feeding on algae covering the boulders at Rocky Point. Powder blue tang are seen at most sites within the Similans. “Tang” are also known as “surgeonfish”, so named because of the razor sharp spines just in front of the tail which can be used during combat. The tail spines of unicornfishes are particularly prominent. The ringtailed unicornfish also bears the spike on its head that gave the genus it’s name. This common reef fish is appropriately named the “crescent-tail bigeye”. Bigeyes typically inhabit dark spaces such as caves, where the large eyes help them see in low light. They occasionally form small aggregations like this one at Rocky Point. In open water their skin color adapts to the bright conditions by becoming paler, thereby making it less conspicuous. The juvenile emperor red snapper is one of the most distinctive of all reef fishes, but rarely seen. Named after the sea itself, the boldly spotted Andaman sweetlips has a striking design, but perhaps the most photogenic of all our reef fishes is the oriental sweetlips. Although often found alone, this species is at its most striking in numbers. Schools can be encountered among the enormous granite boulders at Christmas Point and Elephant Head Rock in the Similan Islands. The Andaman Sea is home to a large variety of groupers.

24 comments on “Reef Fishes – Reef Life of the Andaman – Part 9

  1. The following captions/subtitles are available by clicking the CC button under the video:
    – English narration
    – German narration
    – Spanish narration
    – English (+ scientific names) names of the marine life and dive sites
    – German (+ scientific names) names of the marine life and dive sites
    - Dutch (+ scientific names) names of the marine life and dive sites
    Please get in touch if you would like to help with other languages.

  2. Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I was the one behind the camera. Next week's part 10 is about big fishes.

  3. By the way: you are indeed privelages: even thou I love it, I can not afford it: travel expenses, boat rental, living expenses, etc…
    Where do you get the money to do what I would love to do???
    Any way, it is just envy: Keep doing it so I can see it on your videos!. Have a good life . I think you already do have it. Rorry

  4. A little from YouTube partner income, a little from stock footage sales, a little from DVD sales, the rest from renting out my house and living in a much smaller apartment, and generally keeping down overheads as much as possible. I didn't have to pay for my diving when I shot this footage because I was making vacation DVDs for the divers aboard the boat, which was good promotion for the dive operator. I am indeed privileged to be able to do what I do, but it is hard work.

  5. Thank you for your answer, it was a GOOD surprise.
    You certainly do not have to explain your income sources.It is envy I feel).
    It is a question of FREEDOM & Choices: you had both & choose your life/work doing what you love & YES it is hard work!! How many people work in something they love?
    Born in the city I always loved the Sea. I am a "Yatch Captain" (-the boat)
    Enjoy the beauty & keep sharing it with all of us.Wish you the Very Best & Thank you for your gift to all. Beautifully! It is ART

  6. How far deep down in the Andaman was this? I've always wondered if scuba divers can go down deep in the ocean or can only scuba dive in shallow water? Thanks for the videos, they're so beautiful.

  7. Most of the footage is from about 5 metres down to 30 metres. The absolute maximum depth for clips in "Reef Life of the Andaman" was about 45m. Divers can go deeper but everything starts to get complicated and special equipment is required.

  8. Beautiful underwater scenery with diverse species of coral and beautiful fish, would need to work hard with the team to preserve it, I want to visit it thanks

  9. Videos are wonderful,quite clear and very attractive. I think no other videos are matching with these indeed !

  10. Watch the full 2-hour documentary at: Reef Life of the Andaman (full marine biology documentary) … Coral reefs, tropical fish, sharks, stingrays, marine life, shipwrecks etc. from Thailand and Burma.

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