Graysby Identification

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Graysby is best-identified by looking at the base of its dorsal fin, upon which the adults will display three to five dark spots. Look for the reddish-brown to gray-colored graysby with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine organism we're going to identify now is the Graysby. The easiest way to identify a Graysby is to look at the base of its dorsal fin. Adults have three to five dark spots along the base of the dorsal fin. This is the most distinguishing feature that separates the Graysby from other similarly shaped, sized an colored fish such as the Coney, the Red Hind and the Rock Hind. In addition, their tails are generally more rounded than the other similar species. The coloration of the Graysby can vary from light reddish brown to gray but they always are covered with irregularly shaped small spots. They can also lighten and darken their colors to better blend into their surroundings. Graysbys are quite common on the Caribbean, Bahamian and Florida reefs. During the day they can often be found resting on the bottom under a coral ledge or in between two coral heads. They use their pectoral fins to help maintain a vertical attitude while resting on the bottom. They can be quite curious and are often unintimidated by divers. Since they can be found on reefs as shallow as ten feet as well as reefs as deep as sixty feet, both snorkelers and divers should be able to observe these fish. They are most commonly seen in the size range of six to ten inches but a maximum size of twelve inches has been reported. Graysbys feed mostly on small fishes and crustaceans. They reportedly have a special fondness for brown chromises. They are nocturnal predators and spend most of the day just hanging out on the reef under a ledge or resting on a coral head. As with all sea basses, the Graysby is a protogynous hermaphrodite. This means that all fish start out life as females and turn into males as they mature and reach a size of about eight or nine inches in length. During spawning males will gather a harem of females and spawn with several from the harem every day during the breeding season. Eggs are fertilized externally and allowed to drift with the currents until they hatch. That's the Graysby.


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