Madagascar Photo Gallery: Underwater Life

Although it is possible to scuba dive elsewhere on Madagascar, all of these animals were photographed in the waters around Nosy Be.

Fish:

Butterflyfish:

Butterflyfish look like smaller versions of angelfish, but do not have preopercle spines on the gill cover. There are about 129 species.

Lined butterflyfish, Chaetodon lineolatus

butterflyfish

Chevroned butterflyfish, Chaetodon trifascialis

butterflyfish

Saddleback butterflyfish, Chaetodon falcula

butterflyfish

Rip butterflyfish (Indian Ocean redfin butterflyfish), Chaetodon trifasciatus

butterflyfish

Painted butterflyfish, Chaetodon pictus

butterflyfish

Threadfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga

butterflyfish

Klein's butterflyfish, Chaetodon kleini

butterflyfish

Schooling bannerfish, Heniochus diphreutes

bannerfish

Bennett's butterflyfish, Chaetodon bennetti

butterflyfish

Angelfish:

Angelfish are found in shallow reefs in the Atlantic, Indian, and mostly western Pacific Oceans. There are about 86 species.

Emperor angelfish, Pomacanthus imperator (adult and juvenile)

angelfish angelfish

Threespot angelfish, Apolemichthys trimaculatus

angelfish

Royal angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus

angelfish

Semicircle angelfish (Koran angelfish), Pomacanthus semicirculatus

angelfish

Moorish idol:

The Moorish idol, Zanclus cornutus, is the only species in its family and is common in tropical and subtropical reefs and lagoons throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Moorish idol

Cardinalfish:

There are about 370 speies of cardinalfish. They have large mouths and their dorsal fins are divided into two parts. Most are found in tropical or subtropical waters and are mainly nocturnal. In some species males brood the eggs inside their mouths.

Golden cardinalfish, Apogon aureus

cardinalfish

Tiger cardinalfish, Cheilodipterus macrodon

cardinalfish

Yellow-striped cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma

unknown fish

Firegoby:

Firegobies are dartfishes native to the Indoan and Pacific Oceans. There are four species.

The red firegoby (fire fish, fire dartfish), Nemateleotris magnifica, is found over patches of rubble or sand where it can dart into a hole when alarmed. Adults are usually in pairs.

firegoby

Soldierfish and squirrelfish:

Soldierfish and squirrelfish are found in the Indian, Pacific, and Atltantic Oceans, with most species in the Indo-Pacific. They are mostly nocturnal and so have large eyes. Most are red or silvery. Soldierfish feed on zooplankton. Squirelfish eat small fish and invertebrates and have sharp preopercle spines near the gill opening which are venomous.

White-edged soldierfish, Myripristis murdjan

soldierfish

Silver soldierfish, Myripristis melanosticta

soldierfish

Yellowtip soldierfish, Myripristis xanthacrus

soldierfish

Crown squirrelfish, Sargocentron diadema

squirrelfish

Bigeyes:

There are twelve species of bigeyes.

Common bigeye (lunar-tailed bigeye, goggle-eye, moontail bullseye), Priacanthus hamrur

bigeye

Hawkfish:

Hawkfish perch motionless on coral, braced by their pectoral fins, to ambush their prey. They have large heads and thick bodies. The tips of their dorsal fin spines have trailing filaments.

Spotted hawkfish (coral hawkfish), Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus

hawkfish

Forster's hawkfish (black-sided hawkfish), Paracirrhites forsteri, is the most common Indian Ocean hawkfish.

hawkfish

Stingrays:

Stingrays are cartilaginous fish related to sharks.

Blue-spotted stingray, Telatrygon sp. (formerly Dasyatis sp.)

stingray

Lizardfish:

Lizardfish are bottom-dwelling bony fish found throughout the world in shallow coastal waters.

Gracile lizardfish, Saurida gracilis

lizardfish

Triggerfish:

There are about 40 species of triggerfish found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide, with most species in the Indo-Pacific.

Giant triggerfish (titan triggerfish, moustache triggerfish), Balistoides viridiscens

giant triggerfish giant triggerfish closeup

Halfmoon triggerfish, Sufflamen chrysopterus

triggerfish triggerfish

Rabbitfish:

Rabbitfish (spinefoots) have large dark eyes and small, rabbit-like mouths. There are 28 species, native to shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific. Two spcies have also colonized the eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. The fin spines have venemous glands.

Brown-spotted rabbitfish, Siganus s. laqueus

rabbitfish

Snappers:

Snappers include 113 species, found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. Fusiliers are Indo-Pacific fish that feed on plankton and are related to snappers. There are 23 species.

Black-and-white snapper, Macolor niger (juvenile)

wrasse

snapper

Ehrenberg's snapper, Lutjanus ehrenbergii

snappers

snappers

Variable-lined fusiliers, Caesio varilineata

snappers

Yellowback fusilier, Caesio xanthonata

fusiliers fusilier

snappers

Two-spot Red snapper, Lutjanus bohar

snapper

Common bluestripe snapper (bluestripe sea perch, blueline snapper), Lutjanus kasmira

snapper

Bigeye snapper, Lutjanus lutjanus

snappers

Bluelips snapper, Lutjanus rivulatus

snappers

Five-lined snapper, Lutjanus quinquelineatus

snapper

Breams:

Breams are narrow, deep-bodied fish. Threadfin breams (whiptail breams, false snappers) are native to the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans. There are 17 species.

Arabian threadfin bream (Arabian monocled bream), Scolopsis ghanam

bream

Whitecheek threadfin bream (whitecheek monocle bream), Scolopsis vosmeri

unidentified fish

Striped ;arge-eye bream, Gnathodentex aureolineatus

unidentified fish

Wrasses:

Wrasses include more than 600 species. They are carnivorous and feed on small invertebrates. Most species live in tropical or subtropical waters. Cleaner wrasses groom larger fish and eat the parasites and dead tissue and scales they remove. Wrasses include hogish and parrotfish.

Red-breasted splendour wrasse, Cheilnus fasciatus

wrasse wrasse

Cryptic dwarf wrasse, Pterogogus cryptus

wrasse

Common cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus

cleaning wrasse

Moon wrasse, Thalassoma lunare

wrasse

Lyretail hogfish, Bodianus anthioides

wrasse

Juvenile checkerboard wrasse, Halichoeres hortulanis

wrasse

Diana's hogfish, Bodianus diana

wrasse

Diamond sand wrasse, Anampses caeruleopunctatus

sandwrasse

Sling-jaw wrasse, Epibulus insidiator

wrasse

Spottail sand wrasse, Coris caudimacula

wrasse wrasse

Axilspot hogfish, Bodianus axilliaris

unknown fish

Gobies:

There are more than 2000 species of gobies, small, bottom-dwelling fish.

Hector's goby, Amblygobius hectori

wrasse

Maiden sleepgoby, Valenciennes puellaris

goby

Decorated goby, Istigobius decoratus

goby

goby

Yellowspot dwarfgoby, Eviota sebreei

gobies

goby

Sandperch:

There are 65 species of sandperch. They live on sand or rubble in shallow seas.

Speckled sandperch, Parapercis hexophtalma

sandperch

Rock basslets:

Rock basslets (dottybacks) are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. There are 71 species.

Sankey's rock basslet (striped dottyback), Pseudochromis sankeyi

rock basslet

Fairy basslets:

Fairy basslets are found in the Indo-Pacific. There are 63 species of these colorful fish. They eat zooplankton and are haremic.

Jewel fairy basslet (sea goldie, lyretail coralfish, lyretail anthias, scalefin anthias), Pseudanthias squamipinnis

basslet

Groupers:

Groupers have a stout body with a large mouth for swallowing prey whole.

Potato cod (potato grouper), Epinephalus tukula

grouper

Blacktipped grouper, Epinephalus fasciatus

grouper grouper

Malabar grouper, Epinephalus malabaricus

grouper

Bluespotted grouper (roi, argus grouper, peacock hind, peacock grouper, peacock rockcod, celestial grouper), Cephalopholis argus

grouper

Parrotfish:

There are about 95 species of parrotfish. They are found in relatively shallow tropical and subtropical oceans, with most species found in the Indo-Pacific.

Blue-barred parrotfish (blue trim parrotfish, cream parrotfish, globe-headed parrotfish, green-blotched parrotfish, yellow-scale parrotfish, bluechin parrotfish), Scarus ghobban

parrotfish parrotfish

Bicolor parrotfish, Cetoscarus bicolor (juvenile)

parrotfish

Tricolor parrofish, Scarus tricolor (female)

parrotfish

Moray eels:

There are about 200 species of moray eels, most found in salt water and a few in fresh water.

Giant moray, Gymnothorax javanicus

moray eel moray eel closeup

Crocodile fish:

The Indian Ocean crocodile fish (carpet or tentacled flathead), Papilloculiceps longiceps, is related to stonefish and scorpionfish. It is found in the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea, and has invaded the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. They use theiur camouflage to ambush their prey.

crocodile fish

Lionfish:

Lionfish are venomous fish native to the Indo-Pacific. They are also called zebrafish, firefish, turkey fish, and butterfly-code.

The Indian lionfish (devil firefish, common lionfish), Pterois miles, is the most common Indian Ocean lionfish. The species has also invaded the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. The fin spines are dangerously poisonous.

lionfish

Sweetlips:

Sweetlips are grunts which have big, fleshy lips. Most species live in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. There are 31 speices.

Blackspotted sweetlips (blackspotted rubberlip, African grunt), Plectorhinchus gaterinus, is the most common sweetlips in the Red Sea and the western Indian Ocean.

sweetlips

Minstrel sweetlips, Plectorhinchus schotaf

sweetlips

Emperors:

Emperors are found from the eastern Atlantic through the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. There are 27 species.

Orange-striped emperor, Lethrinus obsoletus

emperor

Yellowspot emperor, Gnathodentex aureolineatus

fish

Boxfish:

Boxfish are squared bony fish related to pufferfish and filefish. There are 23 species. They swim in a rowing manner. Their hexagonal plate-like scales are fused together into a solid box-like carapace.

Yellow boxfish (cube boxfish), Ostracion cubicus. The immature fish (right) is bright yellow. As the fish ages the color fades.

boxfish boxfish

Surgeonfish, tangs, and unicornfish:

Surgeonfish, tangs, and unicorn fish number about 86 species. They have scalpel-like spines (one or more) on either side of the tail. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are large, extending for most of the length of the boday. They graze on algae. Unicorn fish have a rostral protuberance, a horn-like extension of the forehead. They are found from Africa to Hawaii.

Elongated tang, Acanthurus mata

surgeonfish surgeonfish surgeonfish school of surgeonfish

Whitetail tang, Acanthurus thompsoni

surgeonfish

Yellowfin tang, Acanthurus xanthropterus

surgeonfish surgeonfish

Epaulette surgeonfish, Acanthurus nigricauda

surgeonfish

Brown sailfin tang, Zebrasoma scopas

tang

Long-nose unicornfish, Naso brevirostris

unicornfish unicornfish unicornfish unicornfish

Humpback unicornfish, Naso brachycentron

unicornfish unicornfish

Trevally:

The Trevally is one of a family of fish which includes jacks, pompanos, jack mackerels, runners, and scads. They are fast-swimming predatory fishes that hunt in the waters above reefs.

Bluefin trevally, Caranx melampygus

trevallys trevally trevally

Herring scad (duskyfin crevalle, trevally scad), Alepes vari

trevally

Damselfish and clownfish:

There are 385 species of damselfish and clownfish.

Damselfish:

Damselfish live in tropical coral reefs. They eat small crustaceans, plankton, and algae. Many species are very territorial.

Mauritius gregory, Stegastes pelicieri

damselfish

White-belly damsel, Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster

damselfish

Blue-green puller (green chromis), Chromis viridis

damselfish

Humbug damsel (whitetail dascyllus), Dascyllus aruanus

damselfish

Blackedged puller, Chromis nigrura

damselfish

Indian Ocean puller, Chromis axillaris

damselfish

Threeline damsel, Pomacentrus trilineatus

damselfish

damselfish

Twobar damsel (cloudy dascyllus, Indian dascyllus), Dascyllus carneus

damselfish

Arabian damsel, Neopomacentrus miryae

damselfish

Lemon damsel, Pomacentrus sulfureus

damselfish

Bowtie damselfish (black damsel, bluefin, royal damsel), Neoglyphidodon melas

damselfish

damselfish

Marginate dascyllus (Red Sea dascyllus), Dascyllus marginatus

damselfish

Maldives damselfish, Amblyglyphidodron indicus

damselfish

Three-spot damsel threespot dascyllus, domino damel, domino), Dascyllus trimaculatus

damselfish

Yellowside damsel, Amblyglyphidodon favilatus

damselfish

Miry's damsel, Neopomacentrus miryae

damselfish

Blue-yellow damsel, Pomacentrus caeruleus

damselfish

Bicolor puller, Chromis dimidiata

damselfish

Brown-yellow puller, Chromis xutha

damselfish

Scissor-tail sergeant, Abudefduf sexfasciatus

segeant

Philippine damsel, Pomacetrus cf. phlippinas

damselfish

damselfish

Clownfish:

Clownfish (anemonefish) form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones. Most are yellow, orange, reddish, or blackish, and may have white bars or patterns. They are native to the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (there are none in the Atlantic). They are omniverous and can feed on undigested food from their host anemone. Fecal matter from the fish provides nutrients to the anemone. They primarily feed on small zooplankton.

Skunk clownfish (nosestripe anemonefish), Amphiprion akallopisos

skunk clownfish

Madagascar anemonefish, Amphiprion latifasciatus

clownfish

juvenile clownfish

Pufferfish:

Pufferfish have spines which are only visible when the fish has puffed up. They eat crustaceans, algae, and mollusks. Most species are highly toxic.

Solander's sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster solandri

Valentin's sharpnose puffer, Canthigaster valentini

pufferfish

Barracuda:

Barracuda are large predatory fish found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide. There are about 28 species.

Blackfin barracuda, Sphyraena qenie, are the most common barracuda in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, forming large densely-packed schools.

barracuda

Needlefish:

Needlefish (long Tom) are piscivorous fish found in shallow waters and near the surface of the open sea. They have a long narrow beak and sharp teeth.

The Crocodile needlefish (houndfish), Tylosurus crocodilus, is a pelagic species that inhabits costal waters. They feed mainly on small fish.

needlefish

Cornetfish:

Cornetfish (flutemouth) include four species, found worldwide in tropical and subtropical oceans.

The blue-spotted cornetfish, Fistularia commersonii, is common on sand slopes and coral reefs in shallow water.

cornetfish

Remoras:

Remoras (suckerfish) have distinctive first dorsal fins in the form of a modified oval, sucker-like organ with slat-like structures that open and close to attach by suction to the skin of larger animals. Remoras lack swimbladders.

Striped remora, Echeneis naucrates

remora

Batfish:

Batfish are Indo-Pacific spadefish. There are five species. Adults are disc-shaped.

Longfin batfish, Platax teira

batfish

Circular batfish, Platax orbicularis

batfish

Trumpetfish:

Trumpetfish include three species of elongated carnivorous marine fish with long tubular snouts. They are related to seahorses and cornetfishes. Two species occur in the Atlantic and one in the Indo-Pacific.

The Chinese trumpetfish, Aulostomus chinensis, hangs vertically among branches of coral to ambush prey. They can be many different colors.

trumpetfish

Unidentified fish:

funidentified ish

unidentified fish

unknown fish

unknown fish

Molluscs:

Molluscs are the largest marine phylum. Molluscs have a mantle with a significant cavity used for breathing and excretion, a radula (except for bivavles), and a nervous system.

Tiger cowrie, Cypraea tigris

cowrie

Textile cone shell, Conus textile; note that this animal is venomous

cone shell

Bivalves:

Bivalve are molluscs with laterally compressed bodies enclosed by a she;; consisting of two hinged parts. They have no heads and lack radula. Most are filter feeders.

Scallop

scallop

Coral scallop, Pedum spondloideum

clamscallop

Thorny oyster, Spondylus sp.

scallop

Winged oyster, Pteria sp.

winged oyster

Cock's comb oyster, Lopha cristagalli

zigzag oysters

Giant clam, Tridacna sp.

giant clam

Nudibranchs:

Nudibranchs are soft-bodied marine gastropod molluscs that shed their shells after the larval stage.

Phyllidia sp.

nudibranch nudibranch

Phyllidiella zeylanica

nudibranch nudibranch nudibranch

Phyllidiella meandrina

nudibranch

Phyllidiella cf lizae

nudibranch nudibranch

Flatworms:

Flatworms (Platyhelminthes) have no body cavity but have flattened shapes that allow oxygen and nutrients to pass through their bodies by diffusion. The digestive cavity has one opening for both ingestion and egestion.

flatworm flatworm

Sea cucumbers:

Sea cucumbers are echinoderms with a leathery skin and elongated body. There are more than 1700 species, mostly in the Asia Pacific area.

sea cucumber

Graeff's sea cucumber, Bohaelschia graeffi

sea cucumber

Fan worms:

worm

Featherduster worm, Sabellastarte indica

worm

Sea stars:

There are about 1500 species of sea stars. The greatest diversity of species occurs in coastal areas. They are generalist predators.

Cushion sea stars, Cucita nouvaeguineae, have short arms and an inflated appearance, and are variable in color. They are found throughout warm Indo-Pacific waters.

cushion star cushion star cushion star cushion star

Granular sea star, Choriaster granulatus

sea star

Sea urchins are related to sand dollars. They move slowly, feeding primarily on algae.

sea urchin

Anemones:

Sea anemones are predatory animals related to corals and jellyfish. Unlike jellyfish they do not go through a medusa stage.

Magnificent anemone, Heteractis magnifica

anemone anemone anemone anemone

Bubble anemone (bubble-tipped anemone), Entacmaea quadricolor

anemone

anemone bubble anemone

Tube anemones (tube-dwelling anemones, ceriantharians) look like sea anemones but are not closely related. They are solitary and live buried in soft sediments. The tube, into which the animal can withdraw, is made of mucus and threads of phychocysts. The crown of tentacles has two whorls. The large outer tentacles are used to capture food, and the inner ones to manipulate and ingest it.

Tube anemone, Cerianthus sp.

tube anemone tube anemone

Spiny lobsters (langusta, langouste, rock lobster) resemble true lobsters but are not closely related. They have very long, thick, spiny anetennae.

Painted spiny lobster, Panulirus versicolor

lobster

Hermit crabs:

hermit crab

Tunichates:

Tunichates (ascidians or sea squirts) have a tough outer "tunic" made of cellulose. Water enters through the oral siphon and exits through the atrial siphon.

Tall urn ascidian (green barrel sea squirt, green reef sea-squirt), Didemnum molle

tunichates

tunichate

tunichates

tunichates

Stalked club sea squirt, Clavelina detorta

tunichates

Sponges:

Sponges are multicellular organisms whose bodies are full of pores allowing water to circulate through them. Sponges have no nervous, disgestive, or circulatory syste,s. The constant water flow through their bodies brings in food and oxygen and removes wastes.

sponges

sponges

Blue finger sponge, Amphimedon sp.

sponges

sponges

sponge

sponges

barrel sponge

sponges

sponges

sponges

sponge

Sea fans:

Reticulate seafan, Annella reticulata

sea fan

Hard corals:

hard coral hard coral hard coral hard coral hard coral hard corals

Venus table coral, Acropora cytherea

table corals table corals table coral table corals coral head

Hyacinthus staghorn coal, Acropora hyacinthus

table corals

Hemprich's staghorn coral, Acropora hemprichii

staghorn coral

coral closeup coral head coral table coral

Disc coral, Turbinaria mesenterina

coral

coral coral closeup coral polyps coral closeup coral hard corals coral closeup

Soft corals:

soft coral soft coral soft coral

Finger sinularia, Sinularia cf. polydactila

soft coral soft coral

Whate soft coral, Dendronephthya sp.

soft coral

soft coral closeup

Red sun coral, Tubastraea coccinea

tubastrea coral tubastrea coral closeup

Corky gorgonia, Subergorgia suberosa

soft coral

soft coral closeup

White-netted scleronephthya, Scleronephthya sp.

soft coral closeup

soft coral soft coral soft coral

Mauve silky soft coral, Dendronephthya sp.

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Last modified 11 December 2017