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A few from Bonaire...

Discussion in 'Name that Critter' started by drrich2, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    Had an 8-day stay at Bonaire recently, and saw a few things I'm not familiar with.

    This mackerel-type fish was so big it could've passed for a small to medium barracuda; it didn't stick around and by the time I realized it was something unusual (to me) and started snapping shots, it was nearly gone. This is a crop - don't know if you can I.D. it, but please try. I've seen (and eaten) cero's before; do they get that large?


    Hanging out just past and slightly down from the pier at Windsock, I think I finally got a bucket list encounter when this rascal went winging by the bottom of the reef slope, maybe around 70 feet deep? I finned down after it and grabbed a few distant shots. Obviously not an eagle (no spots), southern or torpedo ray. Can someone confirm it's a manta ray, and perhaps state a species? I'd say the size was roughly on par with a really large eagle ray.
    These little blue fish were in a small school at 1,000 Steps; roughly the size of blue chromis, but obviously a different species. What are they?
    I've never been good with 'snappers.' Sometimes I can I.D. a cubera snapper, but there are others around. I know the school masters have yellow fins, and some get big, but this guy is something else. Dude's got some teeth!

    Finally, I was chilling at safety stop depth one dive when I got blind-sided by a fish storm. What are these guys?
    IMG_5752.jpg IMG_5755.jpg
  2. T.C.

    T.C. Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ft. Hood, TX
    1. Looks to be a Rainbow Runner due to lack of scutes. Hard to tell due to coloration.
    2. Definitely a Manta Ray. Not a Eagle or Stingray because of head shape.
    3. Boga; the blue color and two stripes are the identifying features.
    4. Either a Mutton or Schoolmaster Snapper. Probably the former, hard to tell due to coloration
    5. Sardines, IIRC.
    drrich2 likes this.
  3. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    A big thanks! Hadn't heard of boga before; good to know.

    I know it's not evident from photos, but having seen that 'snapper' in person, I'm pretty sure it's no school master; I've seen a lot of school masters in Bonaire, and I know they get decent-sized, but that thing was on par with a good-sized tiger grouper - but the side bars are too vertical, the snout too elongated and the eyes just don't 'look right' for a tiger grouper (I ain't no Marine Biologist, I just see several then think the new guy doesn't quite match what I remember).

    Had no idea rainbow runners got that big, but quick Googling says they can hit 120-cm, so up to 4 feet. Size-wise, that'd do it. I'm guessing that one was roughly a yard long? By the time I got the quick snapshot with my Canon G16 that shot was cropped from, the fish was quite aways off and up reef.

    Sardines would be a nice addition.

    Special thanks about the manta ray. I wanted someone to confirm it as I was so excited to see one.

  4. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    Just in case anyone else runs across this thread looking at I.D.s, I got a shot of a big school master (who doesn't show the vertical side barring they sometimes do): IMG_6103.jpg

    I doubt it will make any difference, but I have another shot of the mystery snapper, almost identical except the pectoral fins are sticking out.
  5. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    That looks like a cubera snapper to me. Pretty sure actually.
    drrich2 likes this.
  6. uncfnp

    uncfnp Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina
    Agreed. Found it just now. Came back to post and saw john beat me to it.
    KathyV and drrich2 like this.
  7. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    The big "snapper' could be a Tiger Grouper, tan phase, vs. Cubera Snapper. Your ,manta is a Mobula spp. , giant manta vs. another Mobula spp.
    drrich2 likes this.
  8. ryan115

    ryan115 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: St. Petersburg, FL
    1. Scombridae - looks to be a mackerel of some sort, but the body depth seems a little off. Finlets and caudal keel get it to family at least.
    2. Mobula sp.
    3. Boga
    4. Cubera Snapper
    5. Scad - Trachurus lathami - Rough Scad if I had to guess to species.
    drrich2 likes this.
  9. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    Posting some follow up about that big ray. I was curious as to whether the species was an 'official' manta vs. a 'devil ray,' and just what it was. Looking around online didn't clinch it for me (I was too far away, and don't have a frontal shot showing the mouth), so it finally occurred to me to hunt up Stinapa's website and shoot them an e-mail with some of the photos and see if anyone could make the call. A few days later I got back what I'll paste below. Which leaves a hard call for me, but it struck me as about the size of a large eagle ray...with a wing span maybe close to 4 feet? So...I still dunno! But I appreciate their help trying to get to the bottom of it, so a special thanks to Bonaire's Stinapa.

    Good afternoon Richard,

    I had one of our marine biologists take a look at it and she is not completely sure. However, we do get devil rays frequently on Bonaire. If the wingspan is less than four feet, then it’s a devil ray, if it's more than that, then it’s a manta.

    Hope to have informed you enough and thank you for the beautiful pictures.

    Kind regards,

    Ruby Pouchet
    Community & Content Coordinator

    P: +599 717- 8444
    F: +599 717- 7318
    E: rubypouchet@stinapa.org
    W: www.stinapa.org

    P.O. Box 368 | Bonaire | Dutch Caribbean
    KathyV likes this.

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