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Maldives Fish: Seamoth (Pegasidae)

February 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Seamoth (Pegasidae)

Most scuba divers that visit the Maldives are anxious to observe large pelagic species, such as manta rays, whale sharks, napoleon wrasse and reef sharks. However, the vast array of smaller Maldivian fish provide an unending amount of eye candy for underwater explorers.

 Maldives Fish: Seamoth (Pegasidae)

Seamoth, or Pegasidae

The seamoth, or Pegasidae, is a small Indo-Pacific family that includes 2 genera and 5 species, of which one has been spotted in the Maldives.

The seamoth is an easily overlooked (yet funky-looking) species. Seamoths are often missed by divers since their exterior is camouflaged by the sandy ocean floor. Adults tend to bury themselves in the sand during the day, making it even more difficult to apperciate this odd-looking underwater species.

Seamoths can be easily spotted during the spawing period, when the female is pregnant and males, after having changed their colors, are courting their female counterparts (which generally occurs at dusk).

mauritius eurypegasus draconis Maldives Fish: Seamoth (Pegasidae)

Slender Seamoth, or Pegasis volitans

The Slender Seamoth, or Pegasis volitans, can be found in the Maldives, due in large part to its long pelagic stage.

sea moth eurypegasus draconis Maldives Fish: Seamoth (Pegasidae)

Additional Information About The Seamoth

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 5 – 5; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 5; Vertebrae: 19 – 22. Color in life variable; body usually light to dark brown, with dorsal and lateral area darker than ventral surface. Pectoral fins hyaline, distal margin white and spotted. Pelvic fin spine and 1st ray forming an elongate, tentacular structure. 3 pairs of dorsolateral body plates; 4 pairs of ventrolateral body plates; tail rings 8 (rarely 9), mobile. A pair of deep pits posterior to orbit. Suborbital shelf concave, eye visible in ventral view. Ventral ridges of rostrum greatly expanded than dorsal ridges, each with laterally directed denticles. Anal papilla absent.

 Maldives Fish: Seamoth (Pegasidae)