Dec 112014
 

Do you remember the first time you snorkeled or dived in warm tropical waters?  I certainly do!  What struck me the most was the vibrantly colored reef fish, with their eye-catching stripes, polka dots and patterns.  Blue tangs, striped grunts and vibrant parrotfish schooled around me as I swam in total amazement.  I was hooked for life!

Over the years, I honed my fish ID skills by pouring over fish charts and the Humann & DeLoach Reef Fish ID books (required reading, IMO).  And as an underwater photographer, I frequently reference the Fish ID books when I’m unsure of a species that I’ve photographed.  One aspect of fish ID that I’ve consistently found fascinating is the dramatic change in appearance of certain reef fish as they undergo the maturation process.

Here are a few examples of common reef fish in their juvenile versus adult phases.

Juvenile French Angelfish

Juvenile French Angelfish

Adult French Angelfish

Adult French Angelfish

Juvenile Lionfish

Juvenile Lionfish

Adult Lionfish

Adult Lionfish

Juvenile Queen Angelfish

Juvenile Queen Angelfish

Adult Queen Angelfish

Adult Queen Angelfish

Juvenile Schoolmaster - notice the black stripe across the eye

Juvenile Schoolmaster – notice the black stripe across the eye

Adult Schoolmaster - notice that the black stripe has disappeared

Adult Schoolmaster – notice that the black stripe has disappeared

Juvenile Spotted Drum

Juvenile Spotted Drum

Adult Spotted Drum

Adult Spotted Drum

Parrotfish and wrasse have a unique classification of life phases.  The adult phase is referred to as the initial phase.  There is then an additional phase composed only of sexually mature males called the terminal phase.

Queen Parrotfish Initial Phase

Queen Parrotfish Initial Phase

Queen Parrotfish terminal phase

Queen Parrotfish Terminal Phase

Stoplight Parrotfish Initial Phase

Stoplight Parrotfish Initial Phase

Stoplight Parrotfish Terminal Phase

Stoplight Parrotfish Terminal Phase

What other reef fish display dramatic differences in appearance from phase to phase?  Extra points for links to your photos!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  3 Responses to “My How You’ve Grown – A Comparison of Juvenile -vs- Adult Reef Fish”

  1. Love it

  2. Fantastic shots.love being able to see them side by side to see the differences.thank you for sharing

  3. Beautiful pictures Mere! It’s very cool to see how they change as they grow!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)