Bulletin 17 - July 1982:
Fish of the UAE
Fish of the UAE
by Roger Brown
This article deals with two spectacular fish which are rare in the Gulf but
more common off the Fujeirah coast. Both fish inhabit coral reef areas of medium
depth, 10 -15 metres.
Commonly known as the Vagabond Butterfly Fish, 'mushat' in Arabic, this fish
is usually seen in pairs searching the coral reef for food. It uses its pointed
mouth to suck out coral polyps and other small marine creatures.
Description: Whitish body background with two vertical black
bands, one through the eye and one to the rear. Rear of dorsal and anal fins and
the tail are yellow with black fingers. Faint black diagonal markings also
appear on the body. Up to 20 cms. in length.
Habitat: Usually inhabits a rocky or coral cave of suitable
size, but always in the vicinity of a coral reef. Generally a timid fish that
doesn't make for easy photography.
Location: Common in the Eastern Region around Khor Fakkan and
Dibba but rarely seen around Abu Dhabi.
Commonly know as the Emperor Angel Fish, 'Anfuz' in Arabic, this fish is
generally a loner, but may occasionally be observed in pairs. It has most
striking body markings and is often seen in prize aquaria collections.
Description: Yellow body background with numerous horizontal
blue lines. Dorsal rays and tail are yellow and the anal rays bluish. Mouth and
cheeks are white. A black marking passes through the eye to the underside. The
mouth is large with strong teeth. Markings of juvenile fish are quite different,
so much so that in the early days of scientific marine identification adults and
juveniles were thought to be separate species. The juvenile is a uniform blue
with whitish circular markings and a pale blue tail.
Habitat: This fish is seen either patrolling its own coral
patch or guarding the entrance to its own cave. Like C. vagabundus it is
normally found in the vicinity of a good coral reef. It feeds by scraping off
tiny marine creatures attached to coral surfaces.
Location: Not very common in the Eastern Region, but apparently
more abundant than in the Gulf, where there has been only one known sighting.