Volume 4    Number 7

Schooling in the Shallows at the Sugar Wreck near Grand Bahama Island

Schooling Grunts at the Sugar Wreck

This shipwreck is scattered across a shallow sandy bottom. The water here is only about 20 feet deep. The sandy bottom offers no shelter for reef fish that need hiding places for protection from hunters like Sharks and Jacks. So this shipwreck is a big attraction for fishes of all kinds, bringing schools of hundreds or thousands to swarm around this underwater oasis.

This picture shows a school of French Grunts, Bluestriped Grunts, and Caesar Grunts. Grunts often form mixed-species schools, with many different kinds of fish all swimming together. Grunts swim together during the day near the protection of a reef or wreck and then leave at night to hunt for invertebrates in the sandy bottom and sea-grass beds. Most of the fish in this school were about 9 inches long.

The large white fish in the foreground was probably a Saucereye Porgy. It was about 15 inches long.

Notice the large Sea Fan growing from the edge of the shipwreck. The Sea Fan is a colony of coral polyps that work together to build a net that stretches out into the current to catch plankton.



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