Snaky Klipfish Blennophis anguillaris

Fransmadam Boopsoidea inornata
Photos Phil Parr
Snaky Klipfish Blennophis anguillaris
This unusual klipfish is rarely seen. It is very shy, and during the day remains well hidden in a small crack or cave, only peering out as shown on the photo. At night they venture out more, and hence one is more likely to see one during a night dive. The name "snaky" is in reference to the fishes' elongated body. It reaches a length of 30 cm. The barbelled klipfish (Cirrhibarbis capensis) is similar in body shape, and often inhabits the same areas as the snaky klipfish, but can be readily distinguished by having a more pointed snout and a number of short barbels. If one cannot see the head (which is often the case on the wreck of the "Clan Stuart", where one can see only part of the body), the two fish are dificult to identify accurately, as they are very similar.
The colour of the snaky fish is drab: reddish brown, and only the white nose is distinctive, although the colouration is not always present.

Fransmadam Boopsoidea inornata
The photo shows the juvenile of the fransmadam, a fish which is a common sight on Cape Town reefs. The juveniles tend to bolder in colour, as the photo shows, than adults, but the young can be readily identified as it shares the adults' dark vertical bar at the edge of the gill cover, as well as the large eyes. While the adults swim freely between the kelp, juveniles are more skittish and remain close to cover, in caves or cracks.
References:
Coastal fishes of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, a divers' identification guide, G Zsilavecz, 2005.
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