This is a strange little story about a funny little fish!


This little fish is really quite common around Dahab and despite its rather small size it’s one of the more aggressive fish found here. It’s called the Threespot Dascyllus and it has a tendency to be very protective of the small areas that it calls home and will guard them in a similar fashion to the bulldog of the sea; the Clownfish.
What really makes me laugh underwater is the fact that the Threespot Dascyllus makes a little popping noise as it’s attacking you to really make sure you are paying attention to its completely futile attempts to scare you off. I mean seriously, this fish is about 10cm long and it will actively start biting your fins and swim in small circles right in front of your face and trust me, you seriously get the impression that it thinks it can take you on!

Anyway, in the case of this little guy, we were actually ignoring each other. I was in the process of trying to get some Macro shots of a Butterflyfish and he was about 50cm away from me trying to impress the ladies with his beautifully manicured rock. The only way that the male Threespot Dascyllus can stand out from the crowd is in a fashion similar to Bower Birds; by cleaning up areas so that they look presentable and show that the male can protect said area and therefore hints at being an awesome father! As to how far the males will go to prove their worth, well, just about a metre away from both of us another male had actually gone as far as properly excavating a buried stone. The size comparison is like you building a 2 metre deep trench around your entire house…. With nothing but your mouth….

So this illustrious little creature was just minding his own business when I accidentally stirred the bottom up ever so slightly. I noticed that a tiny little shell, probably about the size of a fingernail landed on his nice clean stone and let me tell you, he wasn’t having any of it. Quick as a flash he was over there and nudging this little shell off his rock to make sure that it didn’t make a mockery of him and ruin his first impression with the females of his species. ‘Aha, a chance to alleviate a bit of boredom’ me thinks… I picked up a rock, only a small one (I’m not cruel after all), placed it smack bang in the centre of his ‘rock of courtship’ and waited to see what he would do. Needless to say he shot over, at which point I took this photo, then proceeded to actually pick up the little stone and swim about a metre off the bottom and away from his love nest and spit it out. He then came back and double checked that his area was nice and clear and then just went about his normal daily routine.