Anemonefish are a relative of the very large damselfish family and there are about 30 different species of anemonefishes worldwide. The largest can reach a length of 18 centimetres while the smallest barely reaches 10 centimetres.
These are one of the most beautiful of the reef fish that can be found here on Koh Tao and they can be seen at most of the dive sites around the island.
Banner fish are seen at many sites on Koh Tao but usually in pairs rather than schooling. Banner fish often get confused with Moorish Idols which look quite similar. Moorish Idols aren't seen here though so it's a certainty that a fish looking like this here is a banner fish.
We have 3 main types of Barracudas you will bump into here on Koh Tao. From smallest to largest we have Yellowtails, Half Chevron and Great Barracudas. All three of which can be found at the same time on dive sites like Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest and sometimes right at the front door on White Rock, although this is a little more rare. But guaranteed you will bump into at least one of the species on your visit.
Around Koh Tao there are various dive sites where different kinds of Batfish may be encountered. Unfortunately, these interesting fish are seasonal, staying in one place for up to a few months before moving somewhere else.
Among the most colourful of the reef inhabitants is the butterfly fish family with their flat, thin bodies usually with a stripe through the eye and sometimes a dark blotch near the tail. This is their camouflage to confuse predators that mistakenly lunge for the wrong end of the fish. Butterfly fish can also actually swim backwards to escape danger. There are about 130 species which mostly inhabit coral reefs, many species live as mated pairs whilst others school in large numbers. A solitary travelling butterfly fish is in search of a soul mate, when the fish finally finds its mate they hunt, live and travel together for a life.
There are well over 100 species of Moray Eels around the world, ranging in size when adults from a mere 30cm to an impressive 240cm. Most of the different species have quite a distinctive colouring consisting of stripes, spots or intricate patterns, so each type is quite easily identified.
There are about 107 different species of Filefish which are also known as foolfish, leatherjackets or shingles and they are generally found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Filefish family is closely related to the Triggerfish, Pufferfish and Trunkfish.
There are about 40 species of Goatfish and they belong to the family Mullidae in the order Perciformes. The name Mullidae is derived from the Latin word mullus which means soft. The goatfish can grow up to 60cm long, though most that are seen are generally a lot smaller. It is sometimes referred to as red Mullet and was one of the most highly prized food fishes of the ancient Romans....
Pufferfish are one of the most curious fish you will be lucky enough to dive with here on Koh Tao. Possibly due to their highly efficient defense mechanism, they can afford to be confident when meeting new beings in their habitat! In addition to being highly poisonous, when scared, they also inflate themselves to 2 or 3 times their usual size thus deterring predators from snapping them up.
There are many different sorts of Scorpion Fish but here on Koh Tao we are graced with the presence of just 1 of those, that of the Bearded Scorpion Fish – scorpaenopsis barbata. Divers consider themselves lucky to see them as they are so well camouflaged it’s actually pretty hard to spot them until you’ve seen quite a few and know what to look out for!
Save for being asleep for the last 10 years you can’t fail to know that sharks are endangered. Unless shark finning and other damaging activities stop abruptly I fear that we might be the last generation to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. The sharks of Chumphon Pinnacle, Koh Tao are no exception. Over the years we have seen numbers dwindle.
There are actually 31 different types of sea snake and here on Koh Tao we only get the Banded Sea Snake or otherwise called Banded Sea Krait - Laticauda colubrine.
There are many different types of Stingray, here on Koh Tao we get quite a lot of the beautiful Blue Spotted Stingray -Taeniura lymma and they can be seen at many of the dive sites if you look carefully.
They are usually found either in the sandy areas where they sometimes try to bury themselves in the sand, or hiding beneath table coral and overhangs.
Watch out, watch out there’s a Triggerfish about... Before many dives you go on your Divemaster will say watch out for the triggerfish!!! These feisty creatures can be very territorial and protective of their young, here on Koh Tao we have to keep an eye on them especially at Green Rock and White Rock.
Koh Tao actually means Turtle Island and many years ago it was actually a popular feeding and nesting ground for sea turtles. Unfortunately due to the effects of commercial fishing in the Gulf of Thailand and destruction of the natural habitat this is no longer the case. Although, the local community along with the Thai Navy, have been releasing baby turtles over the past 15 years in the hope that they will return to the island.