Serranidae Confusa is the scientific name of for this new Organism. Serranidae means this fish is part of the grouper family and Confusa is the latin word for confuse. This new organism is commonly called King Bait Fish because of its scales. The scale design on this fish looks like a small school of fish. It gets its name bait fish because it attracts smaller fish to come to it.
Ocean Zone and Habitat
The King Bait Fish lives in the Pelagic Zone. The King Bait Fish swims around coral reefs that are located in the Neritic Zone. The Neritic zone is the area over the Continental Shelf. The scales on the King Bait Fish require it to live in an area with light so it lives in the Euphotic zone. The Euphotic zone is the zone that light seeps down into. King Bait Fish also lives in the Epipelagic zone because thats as far as sun light can go down. Some of the factors that the King Bait Fish needs to survive is high amounts of light, high concentration of oxygen, warm water, and low pressure. It also needs some sand on the bottom of the ocean.
Physical Traits and Adaptions to Environment
The main feature about the King Bait Fish is its scales. Its scales have a unique pattern. The pattern looks like a school of Cardinalfish. (The stickers are meant to represent the scales that look like Cardnialfish) The type of Cardinal fish depends on the area of the King Bait Fish. The King Bait Fish swim in small groups ranging from 5-10. Their pattern plus their group makes a trap for other cardinalfish. They think its a school of cardinal fish that they can join. Then the King Bait Fish feed on them.
The white stuff is the tail
Another interesting feature that the King Bait Fish is its extra tail on the belly of the fish. The King Bait Fish uses that tail for three different reasons. The first and main reason they use this bottom fin is to confuse its prey. After they attract the Cardinalfish, they slowly bring the school down towards the sand. Once the school is on the bottom of the ocean the group of King Bait Fish rapidly smack their extra fin on the sand. This causes stir up of sand and then the King Bait Fish turn and attack.
The King Bait Fish aren't that big of a fish. They are only about 32 inches long. The King Bait Fish have a very small jaw but it is very strong. This allows them to chew up their prey at a quick rate. Also their Pectoral fins are very large and the dorsal fin is very flexible.
The King Bait Fish uses its back tail to swim around. It cant swim fast but it can make sharp turns. This helps the King Bait Fish turn and attack its prey and swim away from its predators. It has a weak back fin so it uses its dorsal fin to balance and glide through the water. The dorsal fin is very flexible and aids the King Bait Fish in making sharp turns. The pectoral fins on the King Bait Fish do the most work on making the sharp turns.
The King Bait Fish lives way below the water so it can't go to the surface for air. It breathes using its gills. They are not always swimming so to take in water they need to suck it in. They also use there gills to help suck in their prey. While they are resting at night their gills automatically function on their own.
Me cutting the mouth open
They feed on many types of schooling fish. The King Bait Fish's mainly feed on Cardinalfish. This is because of their unique pattern to attract them in. They do feed on other smaller fish. They blend in with a school and then smack their belly tail on the ground. The sand that comes up causes confusion and the school attacks. They have small but sharp teeth. It can rip a small fish to chunks. Since the King Bait Fishes jaw is so small they have to suck the fish in their mouth one by one.
King Bait Fish use their tails is to build a den. They build dens for two reasons. The first reason they build a den is to stay protected at night and when a predator finds them. The second one is to mate. First, to find a mate the males show off their belly tails and pectoral fins. Then when the female picks her male, the males build a den. After a deep den is built, the female will lay her eggs. After the female lays her eggs the male fertilizes it. Once that is done, the male bury's it and the female guards the area.
The other reason they can use the tail is for defense. When a predator comes closing in on the King Bait Fish they can hit the ground a cause a stir up with the sand. It confuses the predator and allows them to escape. This only works if the King Bait Fish are close to the bottom. It also can use its tail to make a quick 90 degree straight up turn. Another defense strategy is they cover themselves up with sand. They did up some sand and sit under it.
Plankton? Benthos? or Nekton?
The King Bait Fish would be considered a nekton. The definition of nekton is an aquatic animals that are able to swim and move independently of water currents. Even though the King Bait Fish is not that fast, they are able to swim against the current. Benthos is just a species that sits on the ocean floor. Plankton just float around and cant swim.