Top 10 of popular sea life in Ishigaki
No. １ Reef Manta-Ray
The first place in our most popular Marine life is the Manta-Ray (Mobula alfredi), which made Ishigaki Island famous worldwide!
It is estimated that there are about 300 Reef Mantas around the Yaeyama Islands including Ishigaki Island. There are manta cleaning stations and feeding points scattered around the islands, and there is a chance for everyone to meet our Mantas from beginners to advanced throughout the year.
However, please feel free to contact us first because the chance of reaching the Manta points and the encounter rate may drop depending on the weather and seasons.
No. ２ Giant Cuttlefish
From February to April, it is the breeding season of the Giant Cuttlefish, and at some points around the Yaeyama Islands you can see spawning and mating scenes including fights between the males. Sometimes with a bit of luck you can observe as many as a dozen individuals around single coral.
No. ３ Green Sea Turtle
A genuine Sea idol. The Green sea-Turtle is one of the most popular creatures that can be seen all year round in the sea of the Yaeyama Islands, Especially around Ishigaki and Kuroshima areas, you can meet them almost every time ♪
There is a smaller population of Hawksbill Turtles and rarely some Loggerhead Turtles will pass through but the vast majority of sightings is of Green Sea Turtles.
No. ４ Ribbon Eels
Popular type of Eel that can be found here is the Ribbon Eel.
All Ribbon Eels are born males (Jet Black color) and when reaching sexual maturity thy will change their color into Blue, and later on when reaching a certain size (between 70-95cm) thy will transform into a female and their color will become Yellow. Due to this vibrant color change and a “mysterious” look thy are very popular as photography subjects for our divers.
Can be seen throughout the year with a bit of luck (Sneaky creatures) especially around Taketomi and Ishigaki Islands.
No. ５ Crocodile Fish
With its flat camouflaged body and length of up to 60cm, the Crocodilefish became famous as a photography subject. It often stays in or around sandy areas where its camouflage is the most effective. This changeable camouflage color is wonderfully patterned even in the eyes.
Can be found (with a bit of luck) all around the Yaeyama Islands throughout the year.
No. ６ Pinnate Batfish
Commonly called Batfish or Spadefish and can be seen all year round. Although it is often seen alone or in small groups, depending on the point, it can also be seen in much larger schools. Often observed to be cleaned by cleaner wrasses, and how the body color changes from silver to black during cleaning.
No. ７ Yellow Boxfish
Juvenile (1-3cm) boxfish are very popular with divers. With its square yellow body with black spots, Selfie face and its unique way of swimming, this fish is one of the cutest! However, when becomes an adult, its cuteness will be halved.
It is hard to find the juvenile fish because they are hidden in small holes and cracks.
No. ８ Anemone Fishes
You can see 6 types of anemone fish around the Yaeyama Islands, including Tomato, Clark`s, Pink, Orange, Saddleback and False Clown (Nemo!) Anemone fishes. Can be found everywhere around the islands, even in shallow depth, and throughout the year.
No .９ Nudibranchs, Sea-Slugs and Flatworms
With more than 3000 different species all over the world, with sizes ranging from small rice grains to 30cm ones! This variety, colorfulness, and slow movement make them a popular creature especially for macro lovers and photographers. Can be seen all year round, but there are more types that can be seen in winter.
No. １０ Anthias
Anthias are mostly small, but thy form complex social structures based on the number of males and females and also their position on the reef itself.
Anthias do school in huge groups, though they tend toward more intimate subdivisions within the school, appropriately called “harems”. These consist of one dominant, colorful male, and two to 12 females — which have their own hierarchy among them — and up to two ‘subdominant’ males, often less brightly colored and not territorial.
Within the swarm of females, territorial males perform acrobatic U-swim displays and vigorously defend an area of the reef and its associated harem. All Anthias are born female; if a dominant male perishes, the largest female of the group will often change into a male to take its place.
The Yaeyama Islands are home for Redfin, Scalefin, Purple, Stocky and Square-Spot Anthias. They can be found on all Islands throughout the year.
Although this Marine life didn’t make it to our TOP 10, thy are worth to mention!
White-Tip Reef Sharks
Can be occasionally seen around the islands.
Spotted Garden Eels
Can be seen in sandy points.
Sneaky little fish which mimics a leaf by shape and movement.
Goby and Dart-Goby
Many types of Gobies and dart Gobies are found around the islands. Some can be found at shallow depths while others can only be seen deeper than 40 meters.
Try to find you favorite 😉
Yaeyama Islands is also the home of this elusive creature called Pygmy Pipehorse♡.
Ghost Pipefish are masters of camouflage and can mimic the color and movements of their habitats. There are 2 types of Ghost pipefish that we can find here – Ornate Ghost pipefish and the more common one the Robust Ghost Pipefish.
There are sevral types of Pipefishes around the Yaeyama islands although by far the more common ones are the Brown-banded and the Banded Pipefish. Due to their vibrant colors and rarity thy are considered a treat for Macro lovers and photographers.
In this tiny headline of “Shrimps” hides a HUGE variety of Marine creatures that are small, often colorful and even more often – hard to spot. For example this lovely Emperor shrimp (Picture below) which lives on Sea cucumbers and its max size will be about 1.5cm.
Noble File Clams (Electric clams)
This amazing little clams are among the only type of clams that have a light display. While it really looks like Electricity We wouldn`t recommend to try and charge you phone with it. It is only reflecting the ambient light (Sun light or Dive torch).
It is believed to be a scaring tactic for its predators. nevertheless its a beautiful sight and defiantly worth a short film of it.
Thank you for reading our Top 10 list and we hope you enjoyed it, although we have to point out that seeing this amazing creatures in real life is much much better then seeing a picture of them.
Hope to see you soon!!!
Prime Scuba Staff