Rock Beauty Angelfish are very shy. This Rock Beauty was swimming near the reef at a depth of 70 feet. Its yellow highlights make it very easy to see. Notice the yellow outlines around its black sides, its yellow face, and white eye. Rock Beauty Angelfish are so shy that I have had a lot of trouble trying to photograph them, and this fish almost got away, too.
Rock Beauties are more common in the southern Caribbean, but are seen occassionally in the northern Caribbean and around The Bahamas. Like other Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes, Rock Beauties have tall, narrow bodies. Because they are so thin, they can turn quickly and can maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt their prey. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins. This adult Rock Beauty was about 10 inches long.
Tessa Dowell took this picture at a deep reef called Thumbnail near Bimini in September, 1999. She used a Nikonos V camera with a 28 mm lens and SB105 strobe.
There are several other fishes in this picture. They are swimming near a Giant Barrel Sponge. Sponges are colonies of thousands of tiny invertebrate animals. Sponges eat by pumping water. Read all about that on the ReefNews Yellow Tube Sponge website. This Giant Barrel Sponge was about 3 feet tall, making this colony almost 150 years old.
This picture also shows several other common reef fishes. A Yellowtail Snapper is swimming above the Rock Beauty. Yellowtail Snappers are very common and very friendly. They live in the open water above the reef. They are one of the only fishes that will swim up to you and look you in the eyes. Just to the right of the Barrel Sponge and hiding in the shadows is a Squirrelfish. On the top right is a White Margate. There also are several small fish with yellow, black, and white stripes. These are juvenile Blueheaded Wrasse (say, "Rass").
Also notice all of the specks in the water. This picture was taken a few days after Hurricane Harvey blew through the northern Bahamas. The giant waves from this storm stirred up sand from the ocean floor, reducing the visibility of the normally clear water.
Learn more about the Coral Reefs of Bimini on the 2001 ReefNews CD-ROM
Bimini: Jewel of the Gulf Stream