What I am about to say should come as no surprise....... I love fish. Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessively, compulsively, addicted to my interactions with fish. Aside from oozing with cuteness, fish are evolutionarily fascinating organisms. Being an underwater videographer provides me with the unique situation of diving alone with fish and potentially observing them more naturally than among a large group of divers. I cherish these moments, the only other creature swimming softly beside them, documenting their captivating physicality and behaviors. Video is a powerful tool of knowledge and it is often through underwater footage that scientists are able to truly observe and discover remarkable truths. This is how the scientific world first noticed the complicated symbiosis of the Moray eel and Grouper. Over the past two years, I have seen and interacted with many different fish and have made many different discoveries.
Most recently, I was fortunate enough to document a very curious ritual I have witnessed only once or twice before. Two Parrotfish swim slowly, circling one another, and then come together quickly together in what appears to be a passionate kiss. I left the "happy couple" and returned about thirty minutes later. They were still at it. Love is a many splendid thing! Love lifts us up where we belong! All you need is love!
Oh. So after doing a bit of research, I have discovered that rather than an act of love, I encountered what is most likely a violent struggle over territory. According to "Territorial Behavior of the Striped Parrotfish Scarus Croicensis Bloch (Scaridae)" what I recorded was likely a highly aggressive display between neighboring female Parrotfish who sometimes protect their territories through mouth-to-mouth interactions. This is unusual, as it is generally male fish who protect their territory.
Not unlike space, so much of the ocean remains unknown, unstudied, and undiscovered. When I see a unique behavioral pattern underwater, such as fishes kisses, I return to the office and immediately research what it could mean. Often, finding the answer to a seemingly frequent behavioral pattern I have observed is near impossible, and I realize how rare it is to spend everyday with the same species of fish for almost two years. Perhaps The Film Company is the leading expert of behavioral traits of fish native to the Gulf of Thailand! In the future, I plan to document, research, and blog any interesting behavioral traits to create a database of information for divers who are as curious as myself about the fish we see and interact with everyday.