Omri Omassi, the marine unit’s supervisor at the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, on Wednesday was in the middle of his evening dive in the coral reserve in Eilat Harbor when he suddenly ran into a school of brown tangs who were in the middle of their reproductive process.
The brown tang (Acanthurus nigrofuscus) live in the Indo-Pacific and in Hawaii. It grows to 21 cm in length, and, according to Wikipedia, “commonly makes its way into the aquarium trade.”
During the summer, when the water temperature rises in the Gulf of Eilat, one canobserve the process of the fish’s reproduction, which lasts about three weeks and takes place at dusk.
Omassi recalled: “While diving, I noticed a rapid movement of tangs moving together as a dense flock. I saw hundreds of individuals moving quickly. Small groups of females rose quickly and released their reproductive products, followed by the males. It was an astonishing vision.”
Omassi cautioned divers who run into this phenomenon to keep their distance and allow the reproduction process to continue without interference.
“As in any ecosystem, there are those who take advantage of the opportunity,” he noted. “You can see a number of different species such as the Koi who feed on reproductive products, and barracuda who attempt to devour the tangs during the breeding process.”
The videos are courtesy of Omri Omassi / Nature and Parks Authority