Thursday, March 5, 2009

Caribbean Reef Fish Identification

Thanks to Bhae-Jin Peemoeller for reviewing many of the families of fishes you might encounter in the Caribbean Reef environments. If you had trouble remembering family names, then you need to review your notecards and photograph files.

Question for today: What is the order and family and common name for the fish in the photo? If you know, click comment below.

There is a free online Reef Fish identification guide. Don Stark, a certified scuba instructor with experience in the Caribbean demonstrates how to identify tropical fish from the Caribbean reef. Learn about identifying markings on fish such as the Peacock Flounder, Rock Beauty and Blue Angelfish. Get tips on identifying Trunkfish, Sand Divers and Chub Fish.

If you don't mind the few commercials, there are wonderful color videos and narrated descriptions of 20 common reef fishes. As you watch the videos you can use your knowledge of fish classification to identify the correct orders and families.

The image gallery and biological profiles sections of Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History contains additional photographic resources for marine fishes that you need to learn, as well as an excellent field guide to identify common sharks. Browse this site for additional information about Ichthyological Studies.

Enjoy your spring break more by knowing what fish you will encounter.


  1. Hog Snapper (Lachnolaimus maximus)
    Order: Perciformes
    Family: Labridae

    This species of fish changes gender with age. It is easy to tell the males and females apart. They are not regularly caught on hook and line, but are targeted by spear fishermen. Plus they are great to eat.

  2. yes you are correct. remember that Labridae is derived from Latin labrum, which refers to the lip. with specimen in hand you will see the protrusible mouth and jaw teeth that jut out with gaps between them. Not all member of family have same body shape but have long spinous and soft dorsal fins. Dorsal fin 8-21 spines (usually less than 15)and 6-21 soft rays

    these are good to eat.