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Photo of the Week: Pajama Cardinalfish

Pacific reef fish

Posted April 30, 2014. Photo by Amy Landers at the ABQ BioPark.

With red spots, yellow splashes and a dark belt around its middle, this fish reminded someone of their jammies. The pajama cardinalfish is native to Indo-Pacific reefs where it hides by day and hunts by night. When danger comes near, these gentle fish take cover in the nearest sea urchin’s spines.

If you ever have the chance to watch young cardinalfish hatch, you may be surprised to see them swim out of their father’s open jaws. Cardinalfish are “mouth-brooders,” whose eggs incubate safely inside their papa’s maw.

Cardinalfish are one of more than a dozen species in the Aquarium’s new Garden Eel Exhibit. Watch for the swaying eels as they pop in and out of burrows. On the floor of the tank, look for the diamond watchman gobies cleaning the gravel by the mouthful

Have you ever been snorkeling on a coral reef? What did you see?