Finding Nemo (and Dory, and Friends)

I journeyed to the Maldives with my sister for just one reason: the fish! Some people say that the Maldives has the best reef life in the world (though you can find plenty of debate about this in the diving and snorkeling world). In any case, we were not disappointed — we encountered more marine life in our snorkeling around Ihuru Island than I’ve seen before. Let’s start with the anemonefish (aka clownfish, aka Nemo), which are my favorite. We saw them hiding in pink magnificent anemones (heteractis magnifica)…

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… and white ones …

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… and purple ones…

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… and orange ones:

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These anemonefish are of the blackfoot variety (amphriprion nigripes), found only in the Maldives and in a small area near Sri Lanka. So they’re not technically Nemo — he was an ocellaris anemonefish — but I still loved every single sighting …

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… and I also love to see anemones waving in the water:

Here’s my sister taking a look at them:

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These waters are also home to Clark’s anemonefish…

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… which were living in much smaller, paler, and less dramatic anemones:

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We also found Dory! She’s everywhere in these waters:

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Of course, it would probably be more accurate to say that we found Dory’s cousins — Dory was a blue tang, and these are powder blue tangs (also known as powder blue surgeonfish). We even found Dory’s cousin talking to Nemo’s cousins!

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These waters are teeming with fish of all kinds, including oriental sweetlips (a species of grunt — love that name!), several of which were being tended to by cleaner fish …

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… dog-faced pufferfish (also love that name!) …DCIM100GOPROGOPR0372.JPG

… black triggerfish (these seemed to follow us around) …

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… humbug damselfish (another great name) …

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… titan triggerfish (these scared the living daylights out of us, because they’re known to attack humans) …

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… lionfish (look for the bundle of venmous spines at the bottom right — the long white strands toward the top left are lobster antennae) …

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… oval butterflyfish …

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… parrotfish (I have no idea what kind this is — my parrotfish ID abilities are terrible) …

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… masters of camouflage like the foursaddle grouper …

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… and this flounder …

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… giant trevally fighting for their supper (which we saw on a night snorkeling expedition) …

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… and so many, many more — bannerfish, rock cod, unicornfish, parrotfish, moorish idols, angelfish, wrasses, butterflyfish, pufferfish,  — you name it:

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We found so many fish that we started calling scenes like these “fish parties”!

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We also swam in the midst of giant schools of fish, which was a remarkable experience.

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It’s hard to describe what it’s like swim with so much life moving around you — it’s just amazing.

You would never know what’s under the water just from standing on the beach, but it’s amazing stuff!

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3 responses to “Finding Nemo (and Dory, and Friends)

  1. Pingback: Ihuru Island | Traveler Tina·

  2. Pingback: Megafauna of the Deep | Traveler Tina·

  3. Pingback: Rescuing the Reef | Traveler Tina·

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