Adult spadefish look and behave nothing like the juveniles. The midnight black colors fade to silver and all that remains as black are the two bars across the face and gill slits. They now congregate together and can be found on structures, coral heads and under protective overhangs.
Transitioning JP spadefish (Platax pinnatus) have a larger body and the pinnate fins become extremely elongated. Whitish bars begin to appear on their sides near the gill slits as they transition into the next phase.
It’s a real treat to find a juvenile spadefish (Platax pinnatus) on any dive site. The midnight black and contrasting orange is as unforgettable as attempting to photograph one. Their movements are reminiscent of an over-caffeinated butterfly fluttering in the wind, and when you try to get close enough for a decent photo it usually drives them into hiding. The small juveniles have a smaller body with slightly elongated pinnate fins.
This SP version of the Rhinopias eschmeyeri is nearly a single solid color. The Rhinopias is indeed a Holy Grail find for photographers and is sought after worldwide. Noted for its unusual colors, patterns and odd behavior, the Rhinopia remains a challenge to locate even when pointed at.
The adult Terminal Phase sweetlips in this photo has now reached the peak of both size and color. The adult looks and behaves completely different than that of the juvenile in the previous photo. Congregating together under coral heads or on wrecks, sweetlips make for really beautiful photographs, and as you make a slow approach they will allow you to get a few photos before spooking.
Many Spotted Sweetlips are often called Harlequin Sweetlips (Plechtorhinchus chaetodonoides) and have brilliant coloration with spots and a pattern speculated to mimic a poisonous flatworm, but while their colors are eye popping, it’s their erratic movements that catch a diver’s eye.