Identifying Fish Species

Instead you are taught to identify fish according to key characteristics:

  • Size of fish.

  • Shape of the fish’s body, tail and forehead.

  • Shape of mouth.

  • Where the fish is seen - in coral, next to coral, in the blue, on the sand, under an overhang and in what depth?

  • Is the fish by itself, in pairs or in a school?

  • Colouration of fish.

It’s interesting that the colour of the fish is actually the last thing you should take note of when trying to work out what type of fish you are looking at. With the exception of colour, all the other characteristics of fish enable you to work out what Family group the fish is from. Whether it be a Wrasse, a Butterflyfish or a Damsel fish. Once distinguished that’s where noting the colour comes into play.

At Tokoriki Island Resort anyone who signs up for this dive, receives a complimentary Fish ID card which is a fantastic tool at helping you to identify some of the key species we see. All our team are trained in Fish ID and we consider this skill as important as any other when it comes to being a PADI 5 star Dive Instructor.

For Will and I personally our knowledge of fish and our keenness to keep learning about the ecosystem in general, enables us to get enjoyment out of every dive we make.

Learning about Fish is a bit like learning a new language, daunting at first, with so many things to take in…but once started and you start to work out a few basic species, it becomes fun, as well as gets easier.

Whilst we have a library of books for keen divers to borrow, if you find yourself often coming to this part of the world then we can recommend the following two books:

  • Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific: Allen, Steene, Humann and Deloach

  • Reef Creatures Identification Tropical Pacific: Allen, Steene, Humann and Deloach

Alex Garland