The black margate is a member of the family of fishes that includes the snappers, but the black margate has a much more steeply sloped forehead. Identify black margate fish by their silver color and black patch with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.
The marine creature we're going to identify now, is the black margate. The black margate is a member of the family of fishes that include the snappers, but unlike snappers, the black margate has a much higher profile back, and a much more steeply sloped forehead. They're silver in color, and have a large black patch, behind their pectoral fins. Their fins are usually gray to black, and their scales have a dark center, which may or may not be obvious. They can get to be relatively large, up to two feet in length, but most are in the range of one to one and a half feet in length. Black margates are relatively shallow water fish, found usually at depths between ten and sixty feet, although the one in these shots, was at about eighty feet. They generally hang out over sandy areas, with caves or caverns nearby, into which they can dart when they feel threatened. This one was seen in a large swim through, called the gully, which is several small caves, on one side of the rock wall. They are normally quite shy, and are difficult to approach by divers. Black margates are only seen from time to time, in most parts of the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and most of the Caribbean. Often, they will be seen swimming by themselves, in their favorite habitats, but sometimes small groups will gather together. Black margates are nocturnal feeders. Their diet consists mainly of crustaceans, mollusks, smaller fish, and perhaps surprisingly diademas, which are long spined sea urchins. Black margates exist as separate male and female members of the species. As with all snappers, the females and males spawn in the mid water column, with each fish releasing their gammies simultaneously. Fertilized eggs are buoyant, and float on the surface with the currents. As the eggs mature and hatch, the larvae drift with the currents, as part of the planktonic load, until they become large enough to settle into a coral reef,where they will remain for the rest of their lives. That's the black margate.