The Sergeant Major, Abudefduf saxatilis, is a vibrant damselfish which is known not only for the 5 black stripes across their bodies which resemble a military ranking, but also should be known for their combat and defense skills! These black and white striped fish with yellow spines are usually around 15cm and can be seen at many of the dive sites around Amed and Tulamben. Sergeant Major fish feed on algae, small crustaceans, various invertebrate larvae and even other small fish.
We had a great dive this week at Batu Belah, one of our sloping coral reef dive sites and the school of Sergeant Majors there were certainly in action! They were busy spawning. The male Sergeant Major builds nests in firm places on rocks, shipwrecks or reef outcroppings then they actively court the females, chasing them around the reef. The female lays up to 200,000 eggs, which look like purple patches over the rocks. Eggs hatch between 155-160 hours following fertilization. Some patches contain eggs from numerous females, so males could spend the next week guarding eggs which aren’t even theirs!
During our dive, we witnessed males fighting off intruding butterflyfish. When the butterflyfish find the right moment, they dart into the nest and peck away at the eggs. The sergeant majors dash back and forth trying to protect their nests, but of course, there are often several casualties. These territorial and high energy fish are a really sight to see.
It’s quite beautiful to see literally hundreds of these brightly coloured Sergeant Major fish swimming around in the shallow reefs. These are not all diving in Amed has on offer either – our dive sites are packed with critters and fish of all shapes and sizes. If you are an underwater photographer diving in Bali, come and see us, you won’t be disappointed!
Are you interested in diving in Bali? Did you know that Two Fish Divers Amed is not only beautifully located on the seafront, we also have easy access to some of the best dive sites in Bali! For more information about diving in Amed with us, or to take a PADI course, fill in the contact form below and we will get right back to you.