After four months since submerging five artificial reef structures into the bay, many organisms have now started to seek shelter from them. Our first monitoring dive introduced us to schools of snappers, Yellowtail fusilier, Pickhandle barracuda, and various scads swimming in and around the structures with some other herbivorous reef fishes foraging algae growing on the structures.
A school of Pickhandle barracuda, Sphyraena jello, circling an artificial reef.
There are some that stay within the artificial reefs and have become somewhat like a “permanent resident” of a particular structure, like the lionfish. This is a very beautiful fish with wing-like pectoral and dorsal fins. Do not let its beauty fool you. It is armed with sharp spines on its back that contains deadly venom for protection and is an effective ambush predator by blowing jets of water to disorient its unsuspecting prey for an easy meal.
A lionfish, most likely a Common lionfish, Pterois miles, moving along a concrete culvert of an artificial reef.