Hitchhiking Fishes!

Location: Lighthouse Reef Atoll - Belize

Day 8
by Wayne & Karen Brown

Yesterday when we arrived at Lighthouse Reef we picked up some hitchhikers. Hitchhiking fishes! They are still with us. We guess they like hanging out under Belize Aggressor III because they found out that the cooks throw the food leftovers into the sea every night after dinner. There must be over 100 fishes under our boat. It is fun to cruise back to the ship on our scooters and zoom through their schools as they swim all around us. We thought you would like to know about our hitchhiking fishes.

Horse-eye Jacks: (1-2 feet long) The biggest school of fishes under our boat are the horse-eye jacks. They normally swim high above the reef or in open ocean. They eat small fishes. They have large eyes to see better in darker water. They are called horse-eye jacks because they are jacks with large eyes, like a horse. There are about 100 horse-eye jacks under our boat.

Yellowtail Snappers
: (1-2 feet long) In the Caribbean Sea it is hard not to see yellowtail snappers! They normally feed on small fishes, but seem to eat almost anything. They often swim up to divers hoping the divers will feed them. These pesky fish go into a feeding frenzy if a diver brings them food and they will nip at the diver's fingers. They are called yellowtail snappers because they are snappers with a yellow tail. There are about 40 yellowtail snapppers under our boat.

Bermuda Chub: (1-2 feet long) These fishes are normally plankton eaters. They swim high above the reef, often near the surface eating plankton drifting by in the currents. Like yellowtail snappers, they seem to eat almost anything. They will also sometimes swim up to divers hoping to be fed. There are about 20 bermuda chub under our boat.

Tarpon: (4-6 feet long) These are big, scary-looking fish. They look like some big prehistoric monster. They swim right at you, looking like they are trying to decide if you would taste good. Fortunately they are only curious and don't bite. During the day they usually lazily swim around the reef through tunnels and canyons looking for fish to eat. They are most active at night and have eyes adapted for seeing in dim light. There are 6-8 tarposn swimming over the reefs under our boat.

Dive with us tomorrow as we discover how fish clean themselves and brush their teeth!

Best fishes,
Wayne & Karen Brown


Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize

Position: 17º 13' N / 87º 36' W
Air Temp: 87ºF
Weather: light breeze, sunny with scattered clouds and calm seas.
Water Temp: 81ºF

Wayne photographs yellowtail snappers following a school of yellowtail jacks under Belize Aggressor III.

The horse-eye jacks like to stay under the shade of our boat.

The yellowtail snapppers seem to be following the yellowtail jacks around.

The bermuda chub stay mainly near the surface to the back of our boat.

The tarpon slowly swim over the reef, back and forth under our boat.


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