Eagle Ray and entourage

Earlier this week at Mahukona we ran into a large Spotted Eagle Ray being followed by several Threadfin and Raccoon Butterflyfish. Not sure why the butterflies were following—either to clean parasites from the ray (we saw no evidence of this) or to pick up any tidbits the larger fish might scare or stir up? The ray swam at a slow, meandering pace, suggesting that it was not at all bothered by the butterflies’ attention. We watched for quite a while until the ray swam off.

A Threadfin Butterflyfish trailing the big ray. Water here was about 15 feet deep.

The ray made a number of slow, sweeping turns that seemed to momentarily disorient the butterflyfish entourage.

A Raccoon Butterflyfish has joined the Threadfins. Check out the ray’s duckbill-like upper lip.

We saw this large group of young Moorish Idols on the way back into the dock. A common but always enjoyable sight in the summer.



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