RATs – Week 9 – Fish Identification in Turks & Caicos Islands

Fish Identification in Turks and Caicos Islands

Sadly the weather, this Friday, was not on our side. Plans had to be changed and so instead of doing our Search and Rescue dive training, we took the opportunity to broaden our knowledge of reef fish in the Turks and Caicos and how to identify them.

We began by watching a thirty-minute video reel, displaying many diverse species of fish. Immediately, the RATs team saw this as a competition of who could recognize and correctly classify the most amounts of fish; in order to classify them successfully we had learnt to focus on their tails, color patterns and body shapes. With the competition under-way, Charlie had taken an early lead with six identifications, but was later surpassed by Oliver French who had a final score of seven. However, Don Stark – quite simply – put us all to shame, classifying nearly all of the fish (trust me when I say there were many of them).

Along with identification, we had also learnt quite a few interesting facts; the blenny, for example, can move each of its eyes independently (It looked outright abnormal). A fish called the Honeycomb cowfish can sporadically change its colors when navigating around, most likely for camouflage. The Turks and Caicos, I had also learnt, is home to four different types of butterfly fish: the four eye, striped, long snout and the banded.

After the video, Miss Rankin presented us with paper and a box of coloring utensils. Slowly we realized what we had to do next… draw! We were split into three teams: Oliver Downes, Naryan; Charlie, Oliver French; Jessica and me. Our final activity for the day was to draw out every fish we could remember (sounds hard right?). Afterwards, Jackie Walker, Miss Rankin and Don stark judged our ‘professional’ drawings, with Charlie and Oliver French coming first, as they remembered the most; Jessica and I coming second (Even though my drawings looked very questionable), with Oliver and Naryan coming third.

Even though we weren’t able to go diving I still very much enjoyed today and so I would like to thank Jackie Walker, Miss Rankin and Don stark for making a fun enjoyable experience even on short notice.

By: Lucas De Boer

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