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Canthigaster bennetti flows in schools along Gorontalo reefs, forming a magic carpet.
A Magic Carpet
Canthigaster bennetti, commonly called Bennett’s toby, gather in Gorontalo in huge numbers. They gather to spawn. Swimming in coordinated streams, they fly along the reefs and walls like a magic carpet. Miguel’s Diving staff have observed this rare phenomenon many times. It can occur during any month but happens only once or twice a year. We call this event “magic carpet.”
The peak for gathering schools of Canthigaster bennetti lasts only a few days. Then the fish start rummaging in patches of coral rubble. Presumably, they are laying and fertilizing eggs. At this time, individual tobies can be found floundering in mid water. They are clearly malnourished and dying. A closer look reveals that their tails and pectoral fins are severely torn. Presumably, they have been fighting with each other. Within another day or so, thousands and thousands of dead tobies litter the reef.
End of the Phenomena
Canthigaster bennetti is a small puffer fish. When threatened, a Bennett’s toby can ingest water and puff itself to twice its normal size. As with other puffer fishes, certain tissues of Canthigaster bennetti contain poisons. Perhaps that is why other fish do not feed on the dead and dying Bennett’s tobies. Water motion eventually carries the dead tobies below diving limits.
The mass spawning and dying of Canthigaster bennetti has been scientifically reported. The study comes from Una-una, a volcanic island in Tomini Bay. Gorontalo reports of the magic carpet phenomena occur on the north shores of Tomini Bay where Miguel’s Diving operates.
Daily Life of Canthigaster bennetti
Canthigaster bennetti usually occur in pairs or singly. Its cone-shaped nose earns it an alternate name, Bennett’s Sharpnose Puffer. It mainly feeds on filamentous green algae. Sometimes, it will eat coralline red algae and benthic invertebrates like tiny shrimps. This harder diet helps break down their ever-growing teeth.
This magic carpet is only one aspect that makes diving in Gorontalo so exciting. For your chance to experience the beauty of Gorontalo, please book your dive trip with us.