SCUBA News 232
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 232 - October 2019

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What's new at SCUBA Travel?
Featured Liveaboard: Photography Special
Creature of the Month: Pixy Hawkfish
Diving news from around the World

AquaMarine Diving Bali
10% off published prices, free rental gear and an AquaMarine Goodie-Bundle when you use code ScubaTravelUK2020 at

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Silky shark

Palau's Pelagic Paradise

Silky sharks, manta rays, bigeye tuna, marlin and swordfish pass through Palau. The country takes great care of its seas - the whole nation will be a marine reserve in 2020 and they also plan to ban the use of coral-harming sunscreens and shampoos.
Read More…


Astounding Diving at Elphinstone

A fabulous dive in the Red Sea and one of the few places you see Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in shallow water, plus beautiful coral, resident turtle, dolphins swimming above and hammerheads in the blue.
Read More…

Brain Coral and tube sponges in Belize

Bellisima Belize

Belize's most famous dive site is the Blue Hole, currently ranked one of the world's best dives. However, some people think that Belize has even better dives.
Read More…

Featured Liveaboard - Tiger Blue

Photography trip in Raja Ampat

Tiger Blue liveaboard, Indonesia

A special sailing teamed up with Jack Randall of National Geographic and Jenny Stock - award winning underwater photographer and documentary maker - sails 20 January 2020

Learn More…


Hi, I am from out of the UK and I have diving qualifications. I want to know which qualification is more acceptable in the UK?

BSAC and PADI are the most common qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the Scottish Sub Aqua Club qualification is also widely used.

More on diving the UK

Creature of the Month: Pixie Hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus

A pretty little fish with pink splodges, the pixie hawkfish lives on reefs and in lagoons and between one and forty metres down. It likes to sit on small heads of hard corals or sometimes. They are more abundant on midshore and offshore reefs which tend to have healthier, intact coral communities. Coral cover is a good indicator of pixie hawkfish abundance.

Pixie hawkfish, Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus
Pixie Hawkfish, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Photo credit: Clark Anderson/Aquaimages (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Members of the hawkfish family have protrusible mouths which enables them to sit so still

Pixie hawkfish with octopus
Three Pixie hawkfish with octopus in the Red Sea

Territorial males maintain a harem of females. Courtship occurs at dusk or early night.This occurs throughout the year in the deep tropics but in sub-tropical areas, such as the northern Red Sea, only in the summer. They make a short (up to 1 m), rapid ascent and then spawn.

If male hawkfish take on too many females, one of the two largest females will change sex and take over half of the harem, mating as a male. In some species if a new male hawkfish loses a few females to other harems and is challenged by a larger male, it will revert back to mating as a female instead of wasting precious energy fighting a losing battle.

The pixie hawkfish is also known as the coral hawkfish.

Class: Actinopterygii > Order: Perciformes > Family: Cirrhitidae

References and Further Reading:

Coral Reef Guide Red Sea, Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers
Cross Shelf Patterns in Habitat Selectivity of Hawkfish (Family: Cirrhitidae) in the Red Sea, Veronica Chaidez
Zoologger: Transgender fish perform reverse sex flip, New Scientist 6 January 2012

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Red Sea coral and diver

Egypt ups environmental standards to protect coral reefs
Egypt is adopting Green Fins environmental standards to protect its coral reefs. The country has become the first in its region and the 11th worldwide to officially adopt Green Fins.

Humpback whale

Love Whales? They Can Help Solve Climate Change
Whales permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - not only minimising the effects of climate change, but also supporting the health of commercial fisheries.

Right whale mother and calf

Right whale mothers whisper to their calves to avoid attracting predators
The mothers stop making "whooping" noises and communicate to their young through a very quiet, grunt-like sound that can't be heard more than a short distance away.

Coral nursery

Coral gardeners slowly restore Jamaica's 'forest under the sea'
In the past 10 years, more than a dozen grass-roots-run coral nurseries and fish sanctuaries have sprung up, supported by small grants from foundations, local businesses such as hotels and scuba clinics, and the Jamaican government.


Top investment banks provide billions to expand fossil fuel industry
The world's largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn of financing for the fossil fuel companies most aggressively expanding in new coal, oil and gas projects since the Paris climate change agreement, figures show.


Big oil is selling dirty assets, but they aren't going away
New owners of high-carbon projects continue to boost output

Divers in Bahrain

Bahrain opens world's largest underwater theme park
Covering an area of 100,000 m2, complete with a sunken Boeing 747.

Marintex plastic bag with apple

Fish-derived bioplastic wins award for solving plastic problems
MarinaTex - a bioplastic made of organic fish waste ordinarily destined for landfill or incineration will degrade harmlessly in a garden compost bin after just four to six weeks.

Great Barrier Reef

Malaysia to extend marine protected areas around Sabah
In the coral triangle, Sabah is home to some of the best diving in the world. The famous diving areas of Sipadan and Mabul islands are off the coast of eastern Sabah, with Layang Layang in the west. The MPAs will further increase the marine diversity in the area.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Clark Anderson/Aquaimages

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