Volume 5    Number 6

Pelagic Permit Visits Hawksbill Reef,
near Bimini in The Bahamas

Pelagic Permit Visits Hawksbill Reef, Bimini

Permits are huge fish that live in the open ocean. Because they are designed for a life in open water, they are seldom seen near the tropical coral reefs. So it was a big thrill to see this spectacular fish near Hawksbill Reef near Bimini in The Bahamas.

Permits are built for speed. They have tall, narrow bodies that are streamlined to help them swim through the water easily. Their fins are swept back like the wings of a jet airplane. Notice this Permit's huge black tail. The design of this tail is common for fish that live in open water and have to swim fast to survive. Compare this tail to the tail of the Black Jack on the ReefNews website. Permits can be pretty big. These fish can be nearly 4 feet long, and this one was about 2 and a half feet long.

Why do fish that live in open water have to swim fast to survive? That is really pretty simple. In the open ocean, there is no place to hide. If they couldn't swim fast, then other fast predators such as sharks would catch them too easily, and soon they'd all be gone.

Permits have really tough mouths. They have to have tough mouths and tough teeth, because they eat many different kinds of animals that have shells that can be found on the floor of the ocean. Permits are known to eat mollusks, crustaceans, and urchins.

The Permit is identified by its size and shape, its black fins, its domed forehead, and by the small orange spot near the fin on its belly.

ReefNews photographer Jonathan Dowell took this photo using a Nikonos V camera with a 28 mm lens and a Nikon SB105 strobe. The photo was taken on June 4, 2001.

  This picture first appeared on the ReefNews CD-ROM, "Bimini: Jewel of the Gulf Stream." Order your own copy of this educational CD-ROM from the ReefNews Online Catalog.



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