Snorkeling with butterflyfishes in Fiji
One of the idyllic destinations that virtually everyone dreams of visiting is the tropical island group of Fiji, and some of the fishes that also make up that dream are definitely butterflyfishes! Set 18 degrees south of the equator in a remote part of the South Pacific, the hundreds of islands that make up this beautiful island-nation are surrounded by several types of extensive shallow reefs offering varied habitats for vertebrates and invertebrates. Offshore pinnacles, rising from the deep and swept by oceanic currents, provide close views of brilliant soft corals, schooling threadfin anthias, semicircle angelfish, the brilliantl yellow of the local endemic Fiji fangblenny, and a multitude of other colorful species. More protected inshore reefs are covered with reef-building coral species competing for space to grow near the surface. It’s never surprising to observe a hawksbill or green sea turtle meandering along the edges of these reefs or a whitetip reef shark or two cruising along searching for just the right place to sleep on the seafloor.
Over the course of our 11-day tour our group decided to see if we could find all 27 species of butterflyfish that inhabit the waters around Fiji. We were nearly successful, finishing our count with 20 species and 3 species of bannerfish (close relatives that are classified in the family of butterflyfish). We designed a poster using photos that we have taken to track our efforts and published it as a souvenir of our time in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji. Click on the image below to open the full size (nearly 1mb, measuring 18” x 24” full size), then drag it to your desktop…
The next time we are in Fiji, I think it goes without saying that we will try to beat our 2016 count, but more importantly, we will definitely find that elusive black butterflyfish that we spent endless hours searching for…If you’re interested in tropical marine life and checking out vivid reef fish the waters surrounding Fiji are just the place for you!