Being Juvenile in Raja Ampat
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat gives us the chance to see not only a huge diversity of adult reef fishes, but also dozens of juvenile fishes as well. Many juvenile reef fishes spend their ‘early years’ on shallow, protected reefs where they can hide amongst the variety of corals, sea grasses or mangroves. More often than not juveniles are more colorful than adults, or display color patterns that can be described as aposematic (warning colors), or mimic other fish as a potential defensive strategy. That being said, there hasn’t been any studies to demonstrate that their vibrant colors and patterns are aposematic in function.
There are an astounding number of reef fishes in Raja Ampat, so we expect to see plenty of juvenile species. In most cases, juveniles tend to be more secretive or, once exposed, are way less tolerant of large things approaching them. So while they are there, finding them is often the hard part. And, their always-on flight mode makes it a bit tough to get photos, but at the same time, equally as rewarding when we finally do capture the image we had hoped for.
Here’s my collection (not complete by the way, there are just too many) of juvenile fishes we saw on our recent trip to Raja Ampat.
Click on the photo to learn a bit more about juvenile coloration and behavior…
We will be visiting Raja Ampat again and I am already excited to see many more of the juvenile fishes!