A Field Guide to Common Marine Fishes of Singapore

Fish index (by name)
Fish families (by picture)
Parts of a fish
Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low

Living together
Some fishes form symbiotic relationships with other organisms. These can be observed in some local species. The clown- or anemonefishes (Amphiprion spp.) are adapted to living within the venomous tentacles of large sea-anemones. The anemonefish is protected by a special mucus coat which seems to prevent the stinging cells of the anemone's tentacle from firing.

cartoon of anemone fish in anemoneOther fishes would risk being stung to death and be devoured if they attempted to nestle into an anemone the way the anemonefish does. In the aquarium, anemonefishes thrive without anemones, but in the wild, they require the anemones to protect them from predators.

cartoon of shrimp goby and shrimpOn the seafloor, one often comes across openings of burrows dug by snapping shrimps (family Alpheidae). Many of these burrows are also inhabited by gobies (Cryptocentrus and Amblyeleotris spp.). These fishes seem to act as lookouts while the shrimps are busy maintaining the burrow. When a threatening situation arises, the goby backs into the burrow, The action of the goby is transmitted to the shrimp which usually maintains physical contact with its via its feelers.

cartoon of shark with sucker fishThe shark sucker (Echeneis naucrates) has an oval-shaped disc with rows of lamellae on its head. This device enables the fish to cling to the surfaces of large open-water creatures like sharks, manta rays, turtles, and even boats. This probably affords more security than having to swim alone in the open.

Also hitchhiking for protection but unattached to their hosts, juvenile golden trevallies (Gnathanodon speciosus) for some reason, often travel unharmed alongside large fishes.
Coastal Marine Habitats
Fishy Trivia
Dangerous Fishes
Fishes and Man
About the guidebook
From A Guide to Common Marine Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP

©Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre