Tis the season to be festive tra la la la la la la. So, what better way to indulge ourselves at this time of year to those creatures who, in our watery world have the slightest of connection to Christmas.
- Christmas Tree Worm
- Snowflake Moray Eel
- Reindeer Wrasse
- Thorny Tinselfish
- Festive Cichlid
- Christmas Blenny
- Turkey Fish
Christmas Tree Worm
1st up must be the Christmas Tree Worm or to give its proper name Spirobranchus giganteus. This is a tube-building polychaete worm belonging to the family Serpulidae. Unfortunately for those of us in Malta, it is found in tropical waters. It is commonly found embedded entirely in heads of massive corals, such as stony corals Porites and Brain corals.
Snowflake Moray Eel
2nd on my list is Snowflake Moray eel. It is also known as a Clouded Moray, both names suiting its colouration. It is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific area from the eastern coast of Africa and throughout Micronesia including the Red Sea. It can grow to lengths of 1 metre, but its common size is around 50cm. It lives at depths of between 2 and 30 metres.
3rd on the list is Reindeer Wrasse. Yes, there really is a wrasse named Reindeer, Novaculicthys taeniourus, Why? Not from the very shiny nose that I have added but it is due to the two antler-like appendages that grace the head of the juvenile specimens.
4th Lets go with the Thorny Tinselfish- that’s right tinsel fish, Grammicolepis brachiusculus.So named by its shiny simmering skin. This species of tinselfish is found in deep oceanic waters at depths of 300 to 1,026 metres. This species grows to a length of 64 centimetres. Little is known about this fish due to its life at depth and is only known through fish being caught in bottom trawling, drift lines and drift gill nets.
5th Pterophyllum is a small genus of freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae known to most aquarists as angelfish. All Pterophyllum species originate from the Amazon Basin, Orinoco Basin and various rivers in the Guiana Shield in tropical South America.
6th Sticking with the Cichlidae family, how about Mesonauta festivus or more commonly known as the Festive cichlid
7th Nannosalarias nativitatis, the pygmy blenny or throatspot blenny. This species of combtooth blenny is found amongst coral reefs in the western Pacific and Indian oceans. This species grows to a length of 5 centimetres. It is also commonly known as the Christmas blenny or the Christmas Island blenny.
8th and the final one, with a tentative connection (drum roll please) is the Turkey fish. Or more commonly known to everyone as the Lionfish. Pterois volitans to give its genus and species name, is highly invasive, poisonous but very photogenic fish, referred to in some countries as the turkey fish due to, looking at a certain angle, like the feathers of a turkey.
Pterois volitans is native to the Indo-Pacific region, including the western and central Pacific and off the coast of western Australia. However, the species has been accidentally introduced into the Western Atlantic, becoming an invasive species there, and in the northern Gulf of Mexico as well.
Think I’d rather be eating a Meleagris gallopavo on Christmas day.
Hope you enjoyed this festive blog. I’m sure there could be more to be found and those of you out there who are thinking I’ve missed out Starfish or Fairy Basslets, well yes but they were easy ones to think of.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Written By: Sarah Shaw