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Unusual Reef Fishes

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Wolf Eel (Anarrichthys ocellatus)
Wolf Eel
(Anarrichthys ocellatus)

The wolf eel is not really an eel, but an eel-like fish with large, powerful jaws. As ferocious as the may appear, they are not dangerous. Their strong jaws are used for cracking the shells of sea urchins and other invertebrates. They will also feed on some small fish. Wolf eels can be found in rock crevasses throughout the Pacific from the Sea of Japan to southern California.

Northern Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)
Northern Seahorse
(Hippocampus erectus)

The seahorse is probably one of nature's most curious fish designs. It is a shy creature, and is found in a variety of sizes and colors throughout the reef. Seahorses have a very unusual method of giving birth. After the eggs are fertilized, the male carries them in a special abdominal pouch. Here they are incubated until they are ready to hatch.

Leafy Sea Dragon (Phyllopteryx eques)
Leafy Sea Dragon
(Phyllopteryx eques)

The leafy sea dragon is a rather unique species of seahorse. This fish has evolved an elaborate system of camouflage by growing leafy extensions on its body that resemble seaweed. They can often be found floating in clumps of seaweed. They feed mainly on small shrimps. Leafy sea dragons are found in the waters of southern and western Australia where they feed mainly on plankton and algae.

Trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus)
(Aulostomus maculatus)

Trumpetfishes are characterized by their elongated bodies and small, upturned mouths. They are often seen hovering in a vertical position with their heads pointed downward. This allows them to hide among corals as they search for prey. They feed on small fish and invertebrates by sucking them suddenly into their small mouths. Trumpetfishes are common throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Longnosed Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris)
Longnosed Filefish
(Oxymonacanthus longirostris)

Filefishes are closely related to triggerfishes. The longnosed filefish gets its name from its elongated snout. It uses this to feed on coral polyps and worms. The bright spots help to camouflage this shy and timid fish as it grazes on the coral reef. As with most filefish species, the longnosed filefish is found in the waters of the Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions.

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