Gotta Be Red Sea!

Shoal of Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) swarming over soft corals in the Red Sea

by B. N. Sullivan

Underwater scenery varies a lot around the world.  Each region has characteristic features and creatures that immediately identify it and set it apart from other areas in the mind of the well-traveled diver.  Just as kelp forests say "California coast" and reef scenes with purple sea fans and yellow-tailed snappers must surely be Caribbean, a photo like the one above immediately brings to mind the Red Sea.

Other locations in the Indo-Pacific region have Anthias, those delightful little goldfish look-alikes, but nowhere else we've been seems to have them in such profusion.  Shoals of Anthias are as ubiquitous in the Red Sea as the soft corals.

In case you'd like to have a better idea of what the individuals of this species look like, here are links to specimen photos from Dr. Jack Randall's collection at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu:

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