THE FISHES OF MAGNETIC ISLAND
More than 150 species of fishes can be found on the reefs around Magnetic Island. Click here to view the Magnetic Island Coral Reef Field Guide for pictures of more than 140 species.
Here are some examples of the fishes we see regularly on our Reef Eco-Tours.
Six-banded Angelfish (Pomacanthus sexstriatus)
The Six-banded Angelfish is the commonest Pomacanthid found on the reefs of Magnetic Island. They are usually seen singly or in pairs in areas of rich coral growth, and they often emit a loud "brrrrrpp" sound underwater if they are startled. They feed on sponges and invertebrates.
Golden Butterflyfish (Chaetodon aureofasciatus)
More than 5 species of Butterflyfishes can be found around the Island, and they are generally easy to approach and view underwater. The Golden butterflyfish is a generalist feeder, taking small invertebrates, algae, and worms from reef slopes and reef flats. Like the angelfishes, they are generally found in monogamous pairs which stay together for life.
Tiera Batfish (Platax tiera)
A school of these batfishes is resident in Florence Bay and regularly approach snorkellers on our reef ecotours. The fish are quite large (50cm or more) and they make for an unforgettable sight at close range.
Tailspot Wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus)
The Tailspot Wrasse is an active and brightly coloured fish found on most of the reefs around the Island. Wrasses are carnivores, and the Tail spot wrasse is a generalist feeder that takes small crustaceans from the reef surface and zooplankton from the water. All wrasses are born female, and may change sex to male later in the lifespan if they become large enough.
Scissortail Sergeant (Abudefduf sexfasciatus)
Scissortail sergeants are a type of damselfish, and they aggregate in large schools above the coral and are very easy to approach underwater. They feed on plankton - small microscopic crustaceans that they pick from the water with rapid bites of their small mouths.
Spotty Rock Cod (Epinephelus quoyanus)
These small Rock-cods or groupers are found all around the island. They are well camoflaged ambush predators, lying motionless on the reef surface until they make a rapid dart to attack small fishes and crabs.
Bar-cheek Coral Trout (Plectropomus maculatus)
There are 5 species of coral trout found on the Great Barrier Reef, and the Bar-cheeked trout is the type found around inshore fringing reefs like Magnetic Island. The coral trout are amongst the largest predatory fishes, and are a sought after target of recreational anglers. At the marine park protected reefs where we conduct the reef ecotours, coral trout are common and we usually see 2-5 specimens per tour.
Surf parrot fish (Scarus rivulatus)
Parrotfishes use their beaks to scrape algae off the reef surface, and their grazing is an extremely important part of the reef ecosystem. The male fish shown above is very brightly coloured, while the females are more of a drab brown. Parrotfishes grow very fast, reaching adult size after 1 year and generally they don't live more than 8 years.
Rainbow Coral Bream (Scolopsis monogramma)
This colourful fish is found feeding in the sandy and rubble areas next to the reef. It hovers over a likely feeding location before darting down to take a mouthful of sand, and then filters the sand out through its gills, recovering the small invertebrates.