Habitat

The habitats of these fishes are highly variable, and range from coastal and deepslope or seamount marine habitats, to estuaries, rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, and even water-filled ditches. Three terms describe the use of these habitats. Ben-thic fishes are those found in close association with the bottom (including structure); benthopelagic fishes swim on or just above the bottom; and pelagic fishes swim in the water column well above the bottom. Goatfishes are benthopelagic fishes that frequent coral reefs, rocky reefs, and sand, rubble, and mud flats. Archerfishes are pelagic and swim frequently just beneath the surface of shallow marine and brackish waters, and in freshwater lakes and streams. They prefer coastal and estuarine mangroves or weed beds, and flooded trees in freshwaters. Three species are restricted to freshwater habitats. Galjoens are pelagic shoaling fishes found in turbid water along rocky coastlines. Sea chubs are pelagic or benthopelagic, although some pelagic species may be ben-thopelagic at night. They occur on coral and rocky reefs and frequent high-energy or surge zones. Jutjaws are pelagic fishes of coastal waters. Sicklefishes are benthopelagic in coastal and estuarine waters, and frequent mudflats. Monos are pelagic or benthopelagic, and may frequent mangroves or other structures when not swimming in the water column of bays, back bays, estuaries, or the lower reaches of rivers. Butterflyfishes are either benthopelagic or pelagic over coral reefs (most species), rocky reefs, walls and deep slopes (pelagic species, such as Hemitaurichthyspolycanthus, that feed on zooplankton), and flats. Juveniles and adults of some species have been reported from mangroves. Similarly, the angelfishes are either benthopelagic or semipelagic, the latter (i.e., Genicanthus spp.) moving up into the water column to feed upon zooplankton. A number of benthopelagic angelfishes, such as some members of the genus Centropyge, are often found among coral rubble, dead corals, or rocks, where filamentous algae, a component of their diet, is found. Adults of the single species of oldwife (Enoplosus armatus) are found on inshore and offshore rocky reefs, and on sea grass beds and in estuaries, but juveniles occur mainly in estuaries. The boarfishes and armor-heads are pelagic and occur on deep slopes of inshore reefs, often in or near caves, and seamounts offshore. The leaffishes occur largely in freshwater. All are benthopelagic. Three riverine species are also found in brackish water in estuaries. The most famous leaffish, the Badis badis, lives solitarily in rivers, ponds, ditches, and swamps. All leaffishes make use of structure, usually plant materials, for shelter and ambush sites. The knifejaws are found swimming among rocks, underwater cliffs, and walls on rocky reefs. The hawkfishes are benthic, although one species, Cyprinocirrhites polyactis, hovers in the

Sea chubs schooling. (Illustration by Brian Cressman)

water column to feed on zooplankton, but darts into holes on the bottom to avoid danger or to shelter for the night. Two species of hawkfishes, Neocirrhites armatus and Oxycirrhites typus, are obligate coral-dwelling fishes. The former species occurs in shrublike corals of the genus Pocillopora, while the latter occurs in gorgonians (sea fans) and black corals found on deep slopes and walls of coral and rocky reefs. Species of the genus Paracirrhites are faculative coral-dwelling fishes that shelter in or perch on larger shrub-like corals. If such corals are absent, they will also perch upon coral boulders, ledges and rocks, or hide in holes. Kelpfishes are bottom dwelling, usually in inshore kelp forests, algal beds, and surge zones, or in intertidal reaches of rocky reefs. Seacarps are bottom dwelling and poor swimmers. They are found in small or large loosely maintained aggregations, in surge zones of rocky reefs, and in tidal passes in estuaries. The morwongs occur in a variety of habitats and depth ranges; most species are found on coral or rocky reefs inshore to about 197 ft (60 m), but Nemadactylus species have been reported from deep-slope habitats down to 1,312 ft (400 m). The trumpeters occur on rocky reefs and bottoms, although members of the genus Mendosoma forage for zooplankton in the water column.

Betta Fish

Betta Fish

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