Please see the photo at the top of the page. The fish with a significant impact on this striking mottled pattern is Mandarinfish, classified into the genus Callionymoidei.
The appearance of the two animals snuggling up, as shown in the photo, is the spawning scene of Mandarinfish, which is recommended by local guides. Please take a look at this! It’s a big event once a year for us who dive in the sea of Miyakojima every day, and every year during the season of Mandarinfish, we feel like, “It’s about time, I want to go see you”.
What is the season of Mandarinfish?
September is the breeding season from the end of Golden Week at the earliest. When you can go to “Kurima Beach”, where you can often see mandarin fish on Miyakojima, is limited to the summer when the southerly wind blows. For these two reasons, this is the best season!
I’m unfamiliar with it, but all the fish in this area have bright colours and are also called “little dragons” overseas. It is characterized by this vividness, a chubby stomach, and a cute little mouth, which is why Mandarinfish is popular.
In Chinese characters, “Mandarinfish” is a well-known name. The vivid blue, green, yellow, and orange body colours are exactly “Nishiki.”
Among them, the unique blue colour is quite remarkable! There are only two pigment species, the mandarin fish and the spotted mandarin fish. The blue colour of other fish is called structural colour, and most look blue due to the reflection of light, but it seems that these two species initially have a blue pigment, and I am attracted to this fascinating blue. I’m sure.
By the way, “hand-rolling” is derived because it is often used for hand-rolling (bottom trawling).
Spawning scene of Mandarinfish
- Mandarinfish Spawning behaviour takes place just as the sun goes down.
- The male has a larger body
- A more petite body is the female.
There are not many hidden figures in the coral during the day, but as it gets darker, it appears on the surface of the coral and begins to act with chorochoro. The male raises his dorsal fin as the sunset approaches and courts the female. The two paired animals emerge so that the male supports the female, and sperm and eggs are released and fertilized simultaneously in the middle layer.
There is no doubt that you will be impressed by the beautiful momentary nature scene!
Mandarinfish Observation tips
We enter when it’s still bright before sunset and wait for that moment. Males move within a fixed range and search for females, so it is easier to encounter courtship and spawning scenes by first finding and chasing a moving male individual. Also, because males are highly conscious of territory, sometimes you can see males fighting for territory.
Light is essential to ensure visibility as it hits the sunset dive. However, suppose you keep shining the light directly on the mandarin fish. In that case, it will not spawn because it is mistaken for daytime due to its brightness, so it is recommended to use an orange or red light that does not look like a fish and has less stress. A red sheet easily obtained at 100-yen shops is also effective for the light that glows white.
It is a privilege for divers to see such a dramatic and romantic underwater world up close!
Therefore, please check the following items that must be observed and precautions for sunset and night diving that are different from daytime.
Precautions for environmental protection
- Do not touch coral
- Collect gauges
- Maintain neutral buoyancy and streamlined posture
- Check the bottom of the water when landing
Precautions for sunset night diving
- Have a spare light
- Do not point the light at your face
- Do not illuminate the light in a parallel direction on the surface of the water (The needlefish who swim on the surface of the water have a habit of rushing into the light. Since the mouth is sharp, it is hazardous if it is rushed toward the light of the light.)
- Once the light is turned on, it will not turn off (to prevent the ball from burning out due to repeated turning on and off and to prevent button failure. Also, to eliminate the risk of losing the light when turning it off).
- Understand the signal using the light
- Be careful of dangerous nocturnal creatures (Diadema setosum, etc.)
- Diligent gas management (Breathing tends to be shallow and quick due to stress caused by darkness and narrowing of vision. Adjust your breathing and check the residual pressure gauge more frequently than usual.)
- Get used to the state where one hand is closed ( Holding the light will permanently close one hand. Let’s challenge after getting some neutral buoyancy and body control in that state.)