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April 2024    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 50, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Mandarinfish at Lighthouse Reef

from the April, 2024 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Near Malapascua, a dive site called Lighthouse Reef became famous for its tiny mandarinfish. Spectacularly colorful mandarinfish hide among the coral rubble and wait until after dark to briefly swim their courtship dance a few feet off the bottom. Any white light will keep them in hiding.

Some years ago, my guide took me there, and I waited in the pitch black of night, watching in the pool of red light beaming from my strobes' modeling lamps. (Like other marine life, they don't see red light.) After an hour of patiently waiting, two little mandarinfish appeared. I leaned forward with my macro camera to capture their dance and collided with the heads of half a dozen other divers who, unbeknown to me, had joined me in the darkness and were also using my pool of red light....

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