Kyle Lloyd is our newest weird and wonderful thing to be found on the Breede. Kyle is a recent Masters in Science graduate (Ichthyology and Aquaculture) from Rhodes University. Kyle discovered an early passion for fish and nature, coupled with an “outdoor mad family”, he was introduced to the sport of Fly fishing at a young age. The majority of his school holidays consisted of many diligent hours on the water in search of wild Mpumalanga trout. It is safe to say Kyle “hates” to fish and you can definitely find him frequenting the Breede’s best fishing spots with his fly rod or artificial lures. Kyle specialized in abalone culture with an emphasis on optimizing diets for best growth.
A few blue morph spot-fin porcupine fish (Diodon hystrix) have frequented the river this year. Like puffer fish these fish can inflate their bodies by swallowing water or air to form a spiny ball to deter predators. The scales are modified to sharp spines, much larger than those of a puffer fish. These fish spawn in monogamous pairs. During spawning, just before dusk, the female will begin to hover just above the sea bed and flash their white belly and flanks at the male. The male follows her every move, and gently nudges at her abdomen whenever she pauses. The female then slowly rises through the water column with the male close behind. Pressing his snout against the female’s abdomen, the male pushes her to the surface. At the surface the female then moves forward and vigorously splashes on the surface whilst releasing her eggs, whilst the male fertilizes close behind her.
A juvenile moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus) which was found washed up next to the tidal pool. These ornate looking fish have an elongated third dorsal fin spine which forms into a long filament. These fish are common from Kenya to the Aliwal shoal, where they frequent rocky and coral reefs. The juveniles (like this one) have been known to venture as far South as the Breede. This is wide distribution is attributed to the long duration of the pelagic post-larval stage, and juveniles only settle on reefs when they are 8cms. These fish can be easily confused with coachman as they too have a long dorsal filament. However, the coachman has no black band across the tail fin.
A few Indian lizardfish (Synodus indicus) have also been caught in the Estuary this year. These fish are commonly found in warmer waters, commonly found in offshore prawn trawl nets in KZN waters. The distribution has shown these fish only occasionally occurring in Mossel Bay, preferring waters of around 20m in depth, so this is a fairly strange find in the Breede River. Perhaps a sign of climate change and species shifts in response to current fluctuations?
This fish is a smooth blaasop (Lagocephalus laevigatus). These fish inhabit inshore and near-shore areas, over sand or mud bottoms. Usually found alone or in small, loose aggregates. Adults are pelagic, but near continental margins and not commonly found in rivers. Young are commonly found on coastal and offshore banks. These fish feed on fish and shrimps. The famous explorer, Captain Cook, ate one of these fish in his exploration of Australia and became seriously ill, narrowly escaping death.