On the off-shore reefs of the Red Sea, Pseudanthias squamipinnis, the Lyre tail Anthias or Sea Goldie, exists in almost overwhelming numbers; the literally thousands of them can make for truly amazing encounters.
Anthias welcome strong currents and are always ‘on the go’. Watching them in the wild, one can see just how active they are. The females will swim just away from the corals and will retreat into the corals slightly if danger threatens. The males will hover a little further out keeping an eye on their harems. Males maintain harems of five to ten females and spend a great deal of time keeping other males away. Given that they are constantly picking food stuffs from the plankton, keeping their harems together, defending their territory, and swimming it is no wonder that these fish need a lot of food. On a recent dive I finally spotted something I’ve not seen befrore, and that was groups of non-breeding males.
I had read that young males will form groups, so when I came across this small shoal I had to get some images.
As you can see, these are the males, identifiable due to their overall reddish color and fin projections.