Mandarin Fish, Synchiropus splendidus
Every December, I take time to reflect my life's journey and create new goals. I also choose a word to serve as my guide and this year's word is RADIANT. I will be teaching children of the Elizabeth River about fish and their needs and I'm glowing with excitement. But today, I've decided to take a webcation to the Pacific and take a closer look at the radiant fish, the Mandarin.
This fish may be small, but it sure is memorable and as the Latin name suggests, it is splendid. It's a member of the Dragonet family and frequents the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia. These beautiful fish are reef dwellers, bottom-feeders and are fairly slow moving. They are also picky eaters feeding on copepods, amphipods and fish eggs. This makes them difficult to keep in aquariums.
Divers often share close-encounters with this psychedelic fish, but also are talking about the Yonaguni Monument found near the Ryukyu Islands. The debate is whether it is natural or man-made. A diver discovered the formation in 1987 while looking for a good place to observe sharks. Since, scientists and underwater photographers have been studying the site along with others like the Discovery Channel. Some believe they have identified animal drawings engraved in the rocks and some say one formation looks like a face. If only the Mandarin could share his knowledge of this curiosity.