SCUBA News 267
(ISSN 1476-8011)

Welcome to SCUBA News. I hope you find it useful. We've a new feature this month - Reader's Recommended Dive Site. Please tell us about your favourite dive spot and we'll feature it in a future issue.

What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Blacktip reef shark by Carol Buchanan/DepositPhotos

Sensational Solomon Islands

World class diving in the Solomon islands - packed with pelagics but also beautiful coral, caves and wrecks

Diver and coral

Ever thought of diving Guanaja?

The quietest of the Bay Islands of Honduras

Diving Phi Phi Islands with Thailand Divers

Welcome Thailand Divers

One of Thailand's most experienced dive companies, with over 16 years of experience running professional liveaboards and day trips to all the best dive sites Phuket has to offer.

Underwater Cuba

Reader's recommended dive site: Turtle Crossing, Roatan, Honduras

"As the name of this dive site implies, you're very likely to see sea turtles swimming from the deep ocean side of the reef, swimming over it to the island side of the reef. Speaking of which, when you swim over the reef from the island side and see the incredible 100m+ drop-off on the ocean side of the reef it will take your breath away."
Robert McManus

Green turtle
Quincy Dein/Depositphotos

Tell us about your favourite dive site -

Spadefish are creature of the month

These slow moving fish are not at all intimidated by divers, and often come to "greet" you on your dive. There are five species living in warm waters throughout the Indo-Pacific, although not all species are represented in all areas. In the Red Sea, for example, you will see just three species: longfin spadefish (Platax teira), circular spadefish (P. orbicularis) and golden spadefish (P. boersii).

Juvenile longfin spadefish
Longfin spadefish. Vitaliy/Depositphotos

Young spadefish look different to the mature fish. They have short bodies (nose to tail) compared to the size of their large dorsal and ventral fins. The brown juveniles of the circular spadefish, P. orbicularis, float sideways in the water and look very like drifting dead leaves. Those of the dusky spadefish (P. pinnatus), though, look like toxic flatworms.

Juvenile dusky spadefish
Juvenile dusky spadefish. Christian Gloor/CC BY 2.0

All the juveniles prefer shallow, sheltered water such as in lagoons and among mangroves. You find the adults in deeper water on reefs and wrecks down to 20 or 30 m.

Juvenile longfin spadefish
Juvenile longfin spadefish. Cipto Aji Gunawan/Depositphotos

Previously spadefish were known as batfish, and many divers, myself included, still routinely call them this. They all have thin deep bodies. Other features they have in common are their greyish colouring and the two black or grey stripes going vertically down their bodies, one through the eye and the other at the back of the head.

Juvenile longfin spadefish
Shoal of circular spadefish. Madelein Wolfaardt/Depositphotos

Spadefish grow to between 45 and 60 cm long. With small mouths and teeth they specialise in eating algae and small invertebrates. Some will follow turtles and eat their poo.

Phylum: Chordata > Class: Actinopteri > Order: Acanthuriformes > Family: Ephippidae > Genus: Platax


Red Sea Reef Guide, Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers

Once in a lifetime diving experience

Solomon Islands liveaboard

The most spacious boat on the Solomon Islands, the Bilikiki welcomes 20 divers to wrecks, spectacular reefs, caves, walls and seamounts.


Diving news from around the World

fish and plastic

Microplastics found in 75% of fish we eat
Most fish for human consumption contain microplastics, according to new study.


Warming oceans are changing Australian reef fish populations
A team of researchers in Australia has been tracking changes in the country's reefs for over a decade

Thai Mackeral

Thailand's contentious plan to curtail bottom trawling unfolds in slow motion
Small-scale fishers say the reforms don't go far enough to protect fish stocks, while commercial fishers say the new rules are hobbling their industry and should be scrapped

Amphora in Crete

Greece promotes new focus on marine tourism
Marine tourism, including diving, is expected to directly contribute 1.5 percent to Greece's GDP. The sector's indirect contribution is four to five times greater.


Diver Who Swam Too Close to Orca Pod Handed Biggest Fine on Record
Ascuba diver has been fined a record 12,000 Canadian dollars for getting too close to a group of killer whales near Prince Rupert Harbour, in British Columbia, Canada.

Blue Whale by Mic / DepositPHotos

World's largest shipping line changes routes to avoid blue whales
Conservation groups recommended the move after research showed it could help avoid whale collisions.

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Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

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