On my latest dive in the trusty Gold Coast Seaway I came across quite a few Bengal Sergeant fish (Abudefduf bengalensis).
On this particular occasion, I noticed one of the Sergeant fish somewhat “rubbing” itself on one of the rocks. On closer inspection the rock was almost completely clear of all algae. Sergeant fish, like many other types of fish clear any covering on rocks; they do this so they are able to lay and secure their eggs on the cleared space. They then, like any parent-to-be, guard these eggs with their life – quite literally.
On my closer inspection of the rock, this particular Sergeant fish (whom already had a beautiful circle of purple-ish coloured eggs laid) began a battle with an unwilling participant – me! Before I knew it, this quick little fish had bitten my hand and was already gearing up for another go.
I backed off so as to not cause the Sergeant fish any further stress, but mainly because I didn’t like the idea of getting nicked again.
I continued to watch (from a distance!) as he cleared more space on his rock for more eggs.
I was truly astounded by the bravery of this fish. For something so small to front up to something so big, bubbly and foreign is something you just don’t see above water. Its occurrences like this that make me re-realise why I study Marine Biology.
I then watched as my dive buddy spots this fish and his purple paddock of mini ‘soldiers-to-be’ and heads on in for a closer inspection. Surely enough – my little Sergeant fish took guard and charged.
I swam off giggling to myself with a new found respect for the Bengal Sergeant fish, and an already bruised bite-size battle wound as a souvenir.
Daa Dum Sarah Shark