Blame it on the Anthia...Terry Axam shares his knowledge of this Red Sea beauty

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0610 anthia 1.jpgTerry Axam, Sharm El Sheikh's popular dive instructor, shares his anthia tales...

At first sight it may appear pretty nondescript, how you might describe your everyday pet goldfish! But take a closer look at this 7cm fish. It has the most amazing violet streak below the eye, which illuminates the surrounding water. On mass the orange/gold colour of their body lights up the entire reef making you think you are surrounded by thousands of stars.

Also known as the lyretail coralfish, the lyretail anthia or the scalefin anthia, anthias are members of the family Serranidae (basses, basslets, groupers) and make up the subfamily Anthiinae. They occur in all tropical oceans and seas of the world from the western Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean as far east as Japan and Southeast Australia. The first species recognized in this group was described in the Mediterranean and northeast Atlantic and was given the name Anthias anthias by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758. Pretty remarkable stuff, huh!

Small, peaceful and beautiful they form complex social structures based on the number of males and females and also their position on the reef itself. They are mainly zooplankton feeders and shoal by the thousands. The male, 15 cm in length and a fuschia colour with a very distuinguishing banner, retains a harem of 5-10 females. When the male dies (no surprise there) one of the females will undergo sex reversal and take the place of the missing male!      

In our local waters they surround coral outcrops, the fringing reef and steep slopes to a depth0610 anthia 2.jpg of 35m. They always point directly into current apart from when they are playing 'tricks' on the dive guide when you will hear that age old phrase, 'well they were pointing the right way when I jumped in and checked.' The Anthia, a dive guide's best friend or his/her Achilles heel...

ยป Book your diving holiday to Sharm El Sheikh today and enjoy some of Terry's experiences!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Bryony published on June 16, 2010 7:25 AM.

Emperor Divers' World Cup - Dive and Win! was the previous entry in this blog.

New Ras Mamlach boat trip from Emperor Nuweiba is the next entry in this blog.

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