Springer’s Dottyback in the Wild

by | Mar 28, 2017 | Photography | 0 comments

Springer’s DottybackI’ve always struggled to photograph dottybacks in the wild.  Being a large lumbering creature armed with a big chunky camera does not help me when trying to approach a small, nervous fish that spends its days darting in and out of rockwork and coral heads.  It took me a while, but I finally managed to get some shots of Pseudochromis springeri.

orchid dottyback

How many Orchid Dottybacks can you spot?

Some species of dottybacks from the Red Sea are really easy to photograph.  Find a bit of reef, use a wide angle lens, and shoot away.  In the resulting image, you’re very likely to have a few purple streaks of P. fridmani.  I’ve even got a few halfway decent shots of them with a macro lens, but Springer’s Dottyback has always eluded me until a dive last summer.

orchid dottyback

I spotted one of these smart little fish on a large bommie; it was doing a very good job of keeping the corals between us, and after a while of chasing it around, I tried another tactic: I’d just stay still and wait for it to feel a little more comfortable.

Springer’s Dottyback

I’m glad to say it worked, and, after a few minutes I was rewarded with watching this very attractive fish cautiously swim over some hard corals.  I could clearly make out the fine neon blue of its head markings against its deep black body.

Pseudochromis springeri is now captive bred, and while it is semi-aggressive, it can make a wonderful addition to a Red Sea or Western Indian Ocean themed aquarium. It is reef safe, but may eat small crustaceans.


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