Blenny peeks out of its hole in the reef (#17A)

This colorful little blenny, about 1 1/2 inches long, was reluctant to emerge from its adopted home in the reef. After a few minutes I was able to get a view of this much of its head and body. Blennies are curious, territorial creatures and will follow a diver around the reef, hopping from perch to perch, perhaps hoping for a free meal from the disturbances created in the divers' wake. Blennies are bottom-dwellers, swimming just far enough to arrive at the next perch on the reef.

Blennies look much like gobies, though gobies generally have more of a pointed or sloped head, and are from a different family classification, scientifically speaking. A good page listing the differences between blennies and gobies is maintained by the British Marine Life Study Society. Blennies all have a long dorsal fin and pelvic fins (if any) that are near the throat, with one spine and two to four rays.

The two most prominent families of blennies are the clinids (family Clinidae), or scaled blennies, and the blenniids, or combtooth blennies (family Blenniidae). Clinids are carnivorous, usually have a pointed nose, and have a long, multiple-spined dorsal fin. They usually have fringed tentacles, and some may grow to about 12 inches. The blenniids are small, blunt-nosed, scaleless blennies of warm and temperate seas. They have a single dorsal fin that is sometimes notched, and small teeth.

Identification: Unknown, family Blenniidae

Another blenny photo [99k]

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