Group Title: Recreational fishing in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Title: Shallow water reef fish
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 Material Information
Title: Shallow water reef fish
Series Title: Recreational fishing in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Publisher: Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Place of Publication: St. Croix, USVI
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300938
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Lutjanusjocu Pargo colorado Reef, hard bottom Nocturnal Cut baitfish, sprat
S Dog Snapper

Lutjanus apodus Dogtooth Snapper, ango Reef, hard bottom Nocturnal Cut baitfish, sprat
Schoolmaster Snapper, Pargo amarillo

^fv Lutjanis analis Virgin Snapper, Sama Grass beds, hard bottom Nocturnal Cut baitfish, sprat
Mutton Snapper

-. c? Lutjanus synagris Arrayado Reef, hard bottom Nocturnal Cut baitfish, sprat
Lane Snapper
"" Epinephelus adscensionis Cabra mora Reef, hard bottom Diurnal Cut baitfish, squid
Rock Hind

S| Epinephelus guttatus Hine, Cabrilla Reef, hard bottom Diurnal Cut baitfish, squid
S Red Hind

Cephalopholis cruentata Mantequilla Reef, hard bottom Diurnal Cut, baitfish, squid
S Haemulon sciurus
SBluestriped Grunt Whipper, Ronco Amarillo Hard Bottom, Sand, Seagrass Nocturnal Cut baitfish, squid

** Sparisoma aurofrenatum Goo-too, Bluefish, Specktail, Loro
S- Redband Parrotfish Parrotfish are normally caught in fish pots; they are not normally caught with a
baited line.
Sparisoma viride Goo-too, Green bluefish, Loro verde
Stoplight Parrotfish

Calamus bajonado Porgy, Bajonado, Pluma Hard Bottom Diurnal Squid
Jolthead Porgy
~ ~Balistes vetulaHadBtoDirlCu
Bastes vetula Oldwife, Peje puerco Hard Bottom Diurnal Cut baitfish, squid
Queen Triggerfish

S Melichthys niger
Black Durgon Black Oldwife, Pigger, Japonesa Midwater Diurnal Cut baitfish, squid

ll Cephalopholis fulva Butterfish, Mantequilla Reef, hard bottom Diurnal Cut baitfish, squid

-Lachnolaimus maximus
Hogfish Eaglemouth, Hog Snapper, Capitan Hard bottom Diurnal Squid


:; "

Division of Fish and Wildlife
45 Mars Hill
St. Croix, V.I. 00841

Shallow Water Reef Fish

- .

Whether you fish from the shoreline, a
dock, a boat with spinning rod and reel or
handline fishing gear, sooner or later, you're
certain to feel the steady tug on the lie from
one of our brightly colored shallow-water reef
fish. All of these fishes are closely
associated with the coral reef community,
relying on its numerous crevices, holes, nook
and crannies as a place to hide or as a
source of food. Herbivorous fish, such as
Parrotfish, feed on plant material that grows
on the reef or bottom substrate. Carnivorous
fish such as Snappers, Groupers and Grunts,
feed on smaller fish or invertebrates (Brittle
Starfish, Crabs, Shrimp, Sea Urchins or
Mollusks). Still, others like the Black Durgon
are planktivores, feeding on minute crab
larvae or other members of the zooplankton
(animal) community carried by the ocean

Reef fish have different local names,
depending on where you live in the U.S.
Virgin Islands. If you live in St. Thomas and
St. John, Parrotfish are called goo-too. There
are redbelly and redtail goo-too (female and
male redtail parrotfish). Black Durgon are
called Black Oldwife, Hogfish are called
Eaglemouth and Schoolmaster Snapper are
called Mango Snapper. In St. Croix,
Parrotfish are called bluefish. Female
Stoplight Parrotfish are called redbelly
bluefish or Buck Island Soldier, while male
Stoplight Parrotfish are called green bluefish.
Black Durgon are called pigger, Hogfish are
called capitan or hog snapper (actually not a
snapper at all but a member of the wrasse
family) and Schoolmaster Snapper are called
dogtooth snapper (not to be confused with a
Snapper). Confused yet? Well, fortunately
fishermen agree that Grunts are called
whipper, Queen Triggerfish are called

Oldwife, Coney are called Butterfish and
Mutton Snapper are called virgin snapper!
You're probably wondering how some
of these fish got such strange names, like
grunt, oldwife and butterfish. The family of
fish called grunts got their name from the
sound that is made by the grinding together
of bony plates in their throat. The name
oldwife for the Queen Triggerfish comes from
their thick, coarse, sandpaper-like skin used
long ago by women for doing household
chores like scrubbing. The Coney, one of the
most common small Groupers on the coral
reef, has several color phases, one of which
is bright yellow, hence the name butterfish.

The coral reef consists of communities of
brightly colored reef organisms, including
corals, sponges, sea fans and sea whips.
Coloration patterns of reef fish have evolved
over the years to allow them to blend in with
their surroundings. Special pigment bodies
within the skin of the fish give them the ability
to form a spotted, barred or wavy coloration
pattern to match their background. The
Jolthead Porgy and Mutton Snapper, found at
times in more open waters, may take on a
silvery coloration to blend with a brightly lit,
sandy background. Reef fish need not
necessarily be fast swimmers, they are good
camouflage artists. Camouflage allows them
to avoid predation and snap up unsuspecting
food items.

Did you know that the Queen Triggerfish
has a trigger-like spine in front of its dorsal fin
that it erects and locks when startled? With
this raised, it can wedge itself inside a hole
for protection or make itself look bigger and

definitely more difficult for a predator fish to
Did you know that Parrotfish are the most
abundant herbivorous fish on the coral reef
and the most important vertebrate sand
producer? As the Stoplight Parrotfish or Red-
band Parrotfish rasp the coral or limestone
surface to eat algae they also grind up
considerable amounts of coral to produce
calcium carbonate sand.
Did you know that some fish change sex?
Nature has a way of maintaining healthy fish
stocks by providing some fish with the ability
to change sex from female to male after
sexual maturity is reached. The more brightly
colored Parrotfish are all terminal phase
males. Some Groupers change to males
when they grow larger too.

Reef fish such as Nassau Groupers, Red
Hind and Mutton Snapper form breeding
aggregations at certain times of the year
during which they are vulnerable to
exploitation from fishermen. The protection
of fish populations during this period of time is
extremely critical to the survival of the
species. If too many fish are caught from
these aggregations, the actual numbers of
fish become too low for the aggregations to
occur and mass spawning events do not
happen. Such has been the case with the
Nassau Grouper, now almost extinct in the
Virgin Islands fishery.
A closed season exists annually for Red
Hind from December through February each
year in an area off the South Coast of St.
Thomas and at the head of Lang Bank, St.
Croix. Likewise, there is a closed season for
mutton snapper off the Southwest Coast of
St. Croix from March through June each year.
During the closed seasons, these areas are
closed to all fishing


* Help fish stocks increase through catch
and release.

* Limit your take, don't always take your

+ Observe regulations and report violations.

+ Bring all garbage in, don't teach it to

+ Captain your boat, practice safety afloat.

+ Show courtesy and respect, others' rights
don't neglect.

+ Share what you know to help your sport

For more information on Recreational
Sportfishing contact:

Department of Planning and Natural
Division of Fish and Wildlife
St. Thomas / St. John (340) 775-6762
St. Croix (340) 772-1955


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