Fish Identification: A Lesson by Jean Pretorius

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This content was originally published by our Dive Master Candidate Jean Pretorius on his blog. Please give his page a visit to read more about his experience with traveling, Sail Rock diving, and his journey toward becoming a PADI professional on Koh Phangan! Read more about our other staff exepriences here.

Today we’ll be covering some fish that can be found in the gulf of Thailand when diving with PIDS at Sail Rock. Who knows – maybe 5 or 10 years from now they might not be here anymore. The ocean is a massive body of water which is mostly unexplored and what really lurks in our oceans is a mystery to us, from Mysterious circular paterns to the scary depths of the Challenger Deep canyon.


This might look like some weird alien looking circle but it was actually made by a small little fish called a “Puffer fish” to attract the attention of a potential female. It is indeed a strange mating ritual.

BBC Report
In this post I’d like to cover a few fish that you would normally see when diving around Thailand. If you have been watching my videos you will probably notice a few fish that look familiar. We’ll cover some fish frequently seen at Sail Rock.

Sail Rock.jpg
PIDS Facebook

(1) Whaleshark

Whaleshark mouth.jpg

This is one massive fish which can be seen at Sail Rock on occasion. Despite the name, this fish is not a threat to humans at all since the whaleshark is a filter feeder – one of only three known filter-feeding shark species such as the basking shark and the megamouth shark. It feeds on plankton including copepods, krill, fish eggs, Christmas Island red crab larvae and small nektonic life, such as small squid or fish. A true gentle giant and an amazing sight if you’re lucky enough to see one.

(2) Bluespotted ribbontail ray
Blue spotted ray.jpg

Bluespotted ray.jpg

This is a small ray with a size rarely exceeding 35 cm, they are usually found at a depth of 30 meters or shallower throughout the tropical Indian and western Pacific Oceans in nearshore, coral reef-associated habitats.

(3) Titan Triggerfish
Titan Triggerfish.jpg

Titan Trigger.jpg

This is a relatively big fish that can grow up to 75 cm. It feeds on sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans, tube worms and coral. It often feeds by turning over rocks, stirring up sand and biting off pieces of branching coral. Titan triggerfish are observed as aggressive to other fish and divers who enter their territory so don’t let it’s beauty fool you, they might just attack if he’s space is being invaded.

These three fish will be the introductory post to the Fish Identification series; We have barely scratched the surface. Follow me for more interesting sea creatures to come.

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