I grew up in Oman and today 18th November is National Day. This is the day when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said came to power and it is celebrated every year by fireworks, beautiful light displays and a lot of celebrating in the streets. This is a big day in our calendar and even though I am not in Oman right now (this is a blog about the Maldives after all) I celebrated on a snorkel by spotting one of our most regal fish.
This is the Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus), with a title like that you might think this fish is one of the bold leaders on the reef. In fact angelfish are quite shy and often hide from snorkellers and divers on the reef. The royal blue colouration is kept from the juvenile stage and the golden yellow develops as the fish reaches maturity. For many years the juveniles and adults were thought to be separate species due to their colour differences.
The Regal Angelfish is a reef protector, by feeding on sponges and tunicates it creates clear spaces for new coral polyps to attach to the reef. In this way it helps the development of the reef and maintains a healthy environment, just as a good royal should. So today we say Happy National Day to Oman and a happy reef day to the Angelfish!
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