Angelfish overhaul [Tropical Coral Reef Fish]

[Since the course forums are going away soon and there’s no replacement (yet?), I’ll occasionally post course-specific updates here in these general topic areas. Hopefully each course will get its own forum or category again eventually.]

For the few people taking my tropical fish identification course:

When I started this course thought I’d have something reasonably ready for “publication” in under a year, but I was over-optimistic. It’s taken many many more hours than I thought, though it’s been worth the time. But as I still don’t even have the levels for groupers & basslets, or damselfish, with any content at all, I feel like it’s still in preliminary mode and haven’t really publicized it. Nonetheless, some people have found it and racked up a lot of points.

Recently, I overhauled the angelfish levels. Last monthI added about ten new species (I forget now exactly which ones weren’t there before), and split off the pygmy angelfish (genus Centropyge) into a new pair of levels. I also added a bunch of new photos. This past weekend, after a dive trip to the Florida keys and another photography expedition to the New England Aquarium, I added more photos, and another species, for a total of 32. I also added separate items for the juveniles of Gray, French, Queen, Blue, Emperor, and Cortez angelfish (as well as for King angelfish, which is new to the course entirely). Overall there are nearly 250 new photos, which almost doubled the number of angelfish photos in the course.

Next up, I’m working on a similar overhaul of wrasses, but it’s taking quite a while :slight_smile: I’ve got photos from dive trips to Martinique and the Florida keys as well as the New England Aquarium. I’ve actually already redone nearly all the photos of blueheads, both to add a lot of new ones and to improve and re-crop some of the original ones which were among the first when this course was new - before I was familiar with what it’s like to take the course. Coming up I have a bunch of new species to add, as well as splitting several up into separate items for juvenile, initial, and terminal phase. I finally have enough yellowhead wrasse photos to do that! And Spanish hogfish, and Mexican hogfish, …

Hopefully I’ll have the wrasse overhaul done within a month. We’ll see. Maybe then I can tackle damselfish, or do the “other fish” level to add some of the most commonly seen fish that don’t fall into the bigger families, such as barracudas and moorish idols.

[This post is not a “course forum”. New topics will be new posts in the future.]


@cos, I saw long time ago your course, I find it fantafabulous. However, I use very seldom American English in my “sea settings”, so these names don’t ring a bell at all - this is the only reason for me not taking your amazing course. But i’m browsing it regularly :smile: Taking into account the darn bleaching, maybe one should learn these fish before they go :cry:

Some info and pictures on the coral reefs themselves and their deterioration over time – and recovery in a few places – would be a nice addition to the course. Or perhaps an idea for a new course.

Funny you mention that - I am planning to add some other language columns when I have time. I’ve added a Hawaiian name column, and someday I want to add French and Spanish too. Problem is I only have a good source for French common names for Caribbean fish. I assume there are French names for fish that appear in French Polynesia and the western Indian Ocean (due to Réunion) but maybe other Pacific fish don’t even have French common names? And certainly there are no Hawaiian names for most fish that don’t appear in Hawaii. It may turn out that Spanish is the only language where I can have a nearly full database column. Now, if Memrise were taking feature requests, I’d ask them to allow me to add two “test on” columns, where a user can pick which column they’re being tested on, and then people could take the test in either English or Spanish, but sadly Memrise isn’t interested in feature requests : (

What language(s) do you know well?

Hmm, do you have any ideas on how to put that information in the form of Memrise data and tests? Or do you just mean an informational level?

I have thought about eventually adding a pair of ID levels for the major types of corals (seafans, brain coral, etc.). Those, I can actually find photos of that I can use - either public domain or creative commons or my own. I’ve got a book with a lot of nice photos and information about coral diseases, but I don’t think I can easily find identified photos of coral diseases with the proper rights that I can use in a course, and I’m not good enough at identifying them myself yet to even know how many of them I’ve seen in person, let alone have a good set of my own photos of them. I might ask the New England Aquarium if they have something I can use…

some… German, Spanish, some French, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, my Indonesian is slowly getting there, but not as to name tropical fish… my Chinese, no way, but maybe @savannahchimp or @pdao, or some native???

do you know this???

this is also nice, you probably know it already :

has several languages available, want to use it for my own sea/mar/mer courses… @sircemloud could tell us maybe where to find those fish names? porbably creole,
I agree, not exactly French - but! Tahiti, my dear, Tahiti… French Polynesia…

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maybe they can help with some photos? Informing the public about bleaching is their business

(for the German words:

(your national ocean service has nice photos, but you know that)

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Fishbase is a very valuable resource, though unfortunately the majority of the photos there are copyright-restricted, and it’s very very slow (probably underfunded). When I have a few photos of a fish but not quite enough, I try to see whether fishbase has any Creative Commons images for that species, and sometimes I luck out and get a few; other times, I don’t. I also use fishbase to cross-check the range/distribution of each species, compared with what I find in my books and on other sites. I consider John Randall’s book of Hawaiian reef fish to be most authoritative for the species that are in his book, but for species not in his book (ones that never get to Hawaii), I consider fishbase and the Humann/DeLoach books as equal authorities when I figure out what to write down in the column for where a fish is found.

That page doesn’t load for me.

Last year, I did write to a bunch of web sites that have large sets of species-identified photos. Keoki Stender ( ) and Paddy Ryan ( ) both said yes, and I credit them on level 1 of my course. I use a lot of photos from both of them. Florent Charpin ( ) wrote back to say he wasn’t okay with’s terms of service so I cannot use photos from his site. Several others I wrote to just never responded.

I can’t understand that page enough to figure out what species names are there, or which species they are. I’m not sure the Germans ever came up with common names for most tropical reef fish species, though. How many German-speaking countries or colonies have there been in places with tropical reefs, in how many parts of the world?

My source of French tropical fish names are some fish guide cards I found when I went on a diving trip to Martinique, and I plan to go there again so I’ll see if I can find a more complete book, since the cards only have about 40 species. I bet similar guides are available from French Polynesia and Réunion that cover the fish found in those places, though there are also a lot of core Indo-Pacific fish and Hawaiian & Galapagos endemic fish that aren’t found near any Francophone places and I don’t know if they have French common names.

I do in fact already have some NOAA photos in the course. Unfortunately their web site doesn’t have a large gallery of species-identified photos indexed by species, so I can’t go looking for photos of a particular kind of fish there. Fortunately a lot of NOAA photos have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, where they are searchable by species, and that’s where I’ve gotten most of the ones I use in the course.

the fishbase is indeed slow… but it is the best, I’d like to have something similar for Asian birds and plants… wanted for ages to do a course on these…

If you have some noscript installed (as I do), go from the main page, make the main script free, and then click on gallery. Fantastic photos, really.

Thanks for the Ryan Photographic link!

As about German colonies, overseas: they did not last long, indeed; Germans have been busy colonising Eastern Europe and making war among themselves and with others around etc. indeed. Bismarck did not like the idea of overseas colonies very much. But they had for short periods of time parts of: - Africa (Namibia, famous first modern genocide - of the Herrero’s, the grand-grand-father of one of my many profs was the killer-general there; Tansania, Ruanda, Burundi, Kamerun); - Samoa; - Marshall islands; - the northern part of Papua Guinea; - Nauru; - Palau; - Mikronesien; - -Mariana Is.; - in China around Tsingtau (Qingdao);

(no reefs here, but short note: there was a short episode of exchanging Zanzibar for Helgoland, if you can imagine such stuff; yeap, informal politics - I give you this land and its people and you give me those and that, coz’ we’re who we are, dominates the human history)

therefore, given Germans have been very meticulous botanists and zoologists etc, there should be some names for some tropical fish. However, I deem them irrelevant: those Germans affording themselves scuba diving around the world don’t bother with German names themselves…

I am a bit stuck on this suggestion, I would not know how to help you guys on this project. :sweat: