Getting to Know Fish Faces Beneath the SeaBy Tam Warner Minton 

I have always found faces to be endlessly engaging, be they human or animal. Tropical fish all over the world have faces that are alike in their characteristics, yet are still unique. For instance, Angelfish exist in every ocean, but every ocean has its own species of Angelfish, and the same is true for just about every other kind of fish in the sea. Their individual patterns and colorations are so intricate! They are truly nature’s art. All fish faces are intriguing, their curiosity compelling, and their expressions sometimes comical. Here is a collection of the fish faces I have seen throughout my travels as I have photographed fish and marine animals all over the planet. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Puffer Fish

Everyone loves a sweet looking puffer, but puffers come in all shapes, colors and sizes! Puffers are famous for their ability to fill their tummies with air and inflate, but did you know these adorable fish are highly toxic, both to fish and to humans? One puffer fish has enough tetrodotoxin to kill 30 human beings! They are said to taste terrible too. Also known as “blowfish”, these fish are a delicacy known as “fugo” in Japan. One mistake in preparation can cost a customer her life. Many die from eating fugo each year, so I recommend that you leave the puffer fish alone!


Parrot Fish

Parrots are seen on reefs all over the world and vary in size and colors. Did you know they can change their gender many times throughout their lifetime? Their large beakish teeth are sharp and strong enough to tear off huge pieces of coral. They grind the coral to extract algae, then excrete the rest, making up much of the sand on the reef! Their colorations are bright and the differences between adults and juveniles are so marked it is almost insane! It is hard to believe they are the same species of fish! At night, they cover themselves with a transparent covering, like a cocoon, so predators will not catch their scent. I love the sound parrot fish make when they bite coral…it is loud and grinding! Some Parrot Fish are small, and others, like the Humphead Parrot, can grow up to 4 feet. A super cool fish! 


Splendid Toadfish

Splendid Toadfish can only be found in Cozumel, Mexico! Why? Who knows? But they are endemic to Cozumel and divers love them. Unlike other toadfish they are colorful with their purple, white and yellow markings. They are found peering out of sandy holes under the reef and in patch reefs.

Do you know the extent to which humans depend upon the ocean to live? We need our ocean and its animals to survive, so we must take very good care of our seas. The ocean absorbs 1/3 of human produced carbon-dioxide and supplies us with oxygen. Kelp, a plant from the ocean, is used to make medicines, dairy products, toothpastes, and shampoos! Compounds from the coral reefs, both plants and animals, help treat numerous diseases. Oceans produce 70% more goods and services than land products. Each and every one of us needs the ocean healthy in order to survive. We all have to take some responsibility to make sure it is taken care of. 

We can make a big difference! We can reduce our use of single use plastics by simple methods like reusing our grocery bags, saying no to plastic utensils and reducing our intake of bottled water. Carry a water bottle you can refill again and again instead of buying plastic bottles of water. We can use biodegradable trash bags and recycled paper goods. Recycle your plastic! And cans and bottles as well. Every little bit helps!

Tam Warner Minton is the travel blogger, writer, and photographer behind the adventure travel blog, www.travelswithtam.com. She has traveled to all seven continents, and is an advocate for citizen science, the environment, and getting out of one’s comfort zone. An avid scuba diver, Tam goes on many ocean research expeditions, and is an amateur underwater photographer. Her book, ALL FISH FACES, introduces amazing, colorful underwater creatures many have never seen before, but are crucial to our oceans. Showing kids of all ages the amazing life beneath the waves is the way to preserve our oceans for future generations! Partial proceeds will benefit the Marine Megafauna Foundation. 

ALL FISH FACES: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish is available now on Amazon and www.travelswithtam.com.

Connect with Tam Warner Minton www.travelswithtam.com.

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