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Ecsenius yaeyamaensis, or the Yaeyama combtooth blenny, lives in only a few dive sites in Gorontalo. Miguel’s Diving staff know where to show divers this delightful fish.
How to identify Ecsenius yaeyamaensis
The best way to determine if a pale combtooth blenny is E. yaeyamaensis is to check for a black chin strap. Then look for a black “Y” or “V” mark behind the strap marking. The fish will also have a couple of rows of black dashes behind its eyes. The body will have rows of indistinct white spots.
Only one other combtooth blenny looks similar to Ecsenius yaeyamaensis. That fish is E. strictus, which lacks the black markings, and is endemic the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. However, the Yaeyama blenny can be found through out Indo-West Pacific area from Sri Lanka north to Taiwan. This includes Japan’s Yaeyama archipelago where the fish was first discovered in 1954. Its range stretches to Australia and Micronesia.
Cute Combtooth Blennies
Combtooth blennies number over 400 described species in 58 genera. Divers can recognize them by looking at their behavior. Most lack a bladder that allows other fishes to swim in the water column. So, combtooth blennies will perch on the bottom. Enlarged pectoral fins allow them to sit on coral or sand.
Moreover, divers can easily recognize them by looking at their bodies. Typically, a combtooth blenny will have a blunt head and large eyes. Its dorsal fin is continuous. Also, many species have cirri that stick out between their eyes. However, those of Ecsenius yaeyamaensis are too small and pale to be noticed.
This type of blenny lacks teeth. Instead, their dental plates are like combs. These fish will use their comb-like dental plates to scrape algae and other food off rocks and coral. Combtooth blennys also lack scales.
A rarity in Gorontalo
The Yaeyama combtooth blenny lives in small, scattered colonies in Gorontalo. It will be in areas where other combtooth blennies live. However, its generally pale complexion makes it tricky to spot. Since its maximum length is six centimeters, its small size makes hiding from divers easy. Miguel’s Diving is the only operator in Gorontalo aware of this cute fish.
For your chance to see Ecsenius yaeyamaensis in Gorontalo, please make your dive reservations directly with us.