Bulletin 13 - March 1981: Fishes of Abu Dhabi - Part 7

Fishes of Abu Dhabi - Part 7

by Roger Brown

In this, the last installment of the present series, we take a look at two more fishes found around Abu Dhabi waters. One lives in deep water and the other in shallow bays but fairly rare to these parts.

A forthcoming series is to be entitled "Fishes of the UAE" and it is hoped to begin in the next issue of ENHG Bulletin.

Platax Orbicularis

P. orbicularis is known commonly as Bat Fish, and in Arabic 'amaad'. This fish has an oval, highly compressed body and very large dorsal and anal fins, the whole resembling a bat.

Juveniles often feign death when scared and can be mistaken for pieces of dead sea weed.

P. orbicularis inhabits rocky and coral reef areas, but seems to prefer deeper offshore locations. They have been observed in large adult schools, near the surface, in the waters around Abu Dhabi's super complexes, probably searching for scraps of food. They have also been seen in smaller groups (usually 100+) swimming at a depth of about eight meters in shallower inshore waters.



Body orange-brown with two vertical dark-brown bands. Mouth small, yellow-brown. Pectoral fins light brown. Caudal fin yellow. Dorsal and anal fins same color as body but with dark brown fringes. Pelvic fin dark brown.

Meristic details: D:V 36: A: III, 27
Length: up to 35 cm

Therapon Jarbua

T. jarbua, commonly known as Target Fish and in Arabic as 'baam', is one of the Crescent Bass (Theraponidae) family. It is a prominently marked fish that can be confused with others of the same family, such as T. puta (see Bulletin No. 3, p 8).

T. jarbua inhabit shallow rocky or coral areas. They can sometimes be seen schooling in shallow bays. The species seems to be quite rare around Abu Dhabi, with only three sightings to date:

November 1976: 15 - 20 fish schooling in half a meter of water in a north facing bay of Bu Sayif Island.

October 1978: three fish near rocks on the shoreward side of the Hilton breakwater.

March 1980: one juvenile ( 2cm long) in the safety of a rocky crevice in the Hilton breakwater, shoreward side.

Details of any further sightings would be appreciated in order to establish the local distribution of this fish.



Silvery body with slightly oblique black longitudinal lines, two of which pass through the caudal fin, the tips of which are blackish. Dorsal fins also have black markings. Eyes whitish with black pupils.

Meristic details: D:XI, 10; A:III, 8
Length: up to 25 cm


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