Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pacific Trumpetfish

Last weekend I was able to get some pretty good close-ups of a co-operative Pacific trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensis). Trumpet fish are found on coral reefs all over the world and are successful hunters on the reef. They have a rigid stick-like body and swim by fluttering their dorsal and anal fins. The mouth of a trumpetfish is a complex affair designed to quickly create a vacuum and suck in small prey fish. In doing so, the mouth flares like the bell of a trumpet and hence the name.

Photo Copyright 2012 by Barry Fackler

On its chin, the trumpetfish sports a small barbel which may serve as a lure to unsuspecting fish. While the trumpetfish presents a large side profile, it is extremely thin and very hard for prey to see head-on

Photo Copyright 2012 by Barry Fackler

I like this last photo as the sun is backlighting the fish and glowing through the almost-transparent parts of the mouth. On the left upper corner, in the far background, another trumpetfish can be seen hanging vertically in the water, stalking its prey.

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