Category America – North – Pacific – sub-tropical



The snappers are a large and diverse group of robustbodied, carnivorous fishes. Most species possess relatively large mouths with stout canine teeth and bodies covered with relatively large, coarse scales. They are frequently brightly coloured. They are demersal (spending most time swimming close to the sea bed) in some cases down to 450m and are found in the tropical and sub topical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

There are over one hundred individual species globally, but within the Pacific Coast Sub-tropical eco region there are only a limited number of species that you are likely to see at diving depth, and these will tend to be in the warmer waters of the region.


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White Abalone

Haliotis sorenseni

The white abalone is the only mollusk currently listed under the Endangered Species Act by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). NMFS designated the white abalone as a candidate for listing in 1997 for the California region south to Baja California, Mexico. A short-lived commercial fishery began in the early 1970s, peaked middecade and collapsed in the 1980s. Only occasional landings occurred after that time. It was also sought after by recreational divers, but actual landings are unknown. Recent studies suggest that this species has likely suffered reproductive failure resulting from severe over-harvest. The fishery was closed in 1996.

The white abalone dwells in deep waters – 25 to over 65 metres (80 to 200ft) from Point Conception (southern Californ...

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The Palinurus genus (frequently transcribed as Panulirus) is represented by numerous species in all of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical seas as well as more temperate waters. It is a predatory, nocturnal animal with a vividly decorated coat. They are often numerous locally; they linger in crevices (with their long antennae sticking out) during the day and hunt small benthic organisms at night, but they also feed on organic detritus whenever they happen across it.

Lobsters have recently suffered a dramatic demographic decline; intensive fishing has annihilated entire populations, especially where tourism abounds. Please record all sightings of lobsters, identifying individual species where possible...

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When people talk about coral reefs, fishermen tend to shrug their shoulders and complain about snagged lines and torn nets. But when you talk about groupers, they suddenly sit up and pay attention. Groupers are among the economically most important fishes of the coral reef, because of their popularity as food. Yet without the coral reef there would probably be no groupers. For this reason, groupers are an extremely important indicator species and your record of their existence or non-existence during your dive tells us a lot.

The goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara), sometimes called the jewfish is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Found in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 45m, this indicator prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms...

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Identifying sharks in the wild is a great challenge! While scientists can spend weeks examining every detail of a species, divers may encounter a shark for only a few seconds or minutes. Many species look alike and one individual may not be identical to the next. There are, however, relatively few species in any one specific dive site and with some preparation and a little practice it is possible for all of us to recognise the more common and distinctive species. The key to successful shark identification underwater is a process of elimination, based on a mental checklist of the main features to look for in every animal encountered. One feature alone is rarely enough for a positive identification, so gather as much information as you can before drawing firm conclusions.

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