Is that really the same fish?
Here at Guinjata Dive Centre we get asked that question a lot when we start explaining how some of the juvenile species of fish differ in comparison to their adult versions. In this post we will discuss some of the species and give some possible reasons as to why this happens.
Some of the species we can find here that undergoes this process:
Here is a list of some of the species that we can typically see undergo this process here at Guinjata Dive Centre:
Coral Rockcod, Brindle Bass,Yellowtail Rockcod, Marbled Leopard Grouper, Oriental Sweetlip, Black Beauty, Longfin Batfish, Emperor Angelfish, Semi-Circle Angelfish, Golden Kingfish, Twobar Anemonefish, Domino Fish, Whitespotted Boxy and many more...
Why does this happen?
This change in coloration is generally referred to as a slow change meaning that the colors and patterns take some time to change. A fast change in coloration could be the result of the fish being distressed or some other factors (more on that later).
Most juvenile fish won't reach to the adult stage due to predators and other factors, but it is believed that while they are in the juvenile stage they use a specific coloring type as a defense mechanism to try and blend into the environment.
Slow coloration changes are generally under the control of hormones and are usually semi-permanent.
It often occurs as a fish grows from a larva, through juvenile and adult phases.
Quite a few juvenile reef fishes, have quite bright colors such as yellow and orange. Now how is that a camouflage?
- Although this might seem an unusually bright and conspicuous color to us, recent research suggests that, from a reef fish's perspective, these colors could actually be quite a good choice for blending into the background due to the colors that can be found on the reef from corals and so on.