A blog about experiential learning, global adventures & all things Broadreach
The Most Adorable Fish in the Sea
Imogen Hoyle, Broadreach HQ
The most adorable fish you will ever lay eyes on, that is, if you’re actually lucky enough to spot one of these tiny and elusive creatures, is the juvenile trunkfish. They’re affectionately known by marine life lovers as “the sea pea” because they’re basically the same size as the little veggie, which makes them exceptionally difficult to spot among the coral reefs of the Caribbean. While they’re hard to spot, they are super inquisitive, so will come out of their hiding spots often to check out what’s going on if they detect activity.
Part of the boxfish family, the pea grows into a beautifully spotted box-shaped fish (hence the name). Interesting side note—apparently in 2006, Mercedes-Benz was so inspired by the fish’s physique that they designed their 2006 Bionic concept car after the yellow version of the species.
As they grow older, they develop a pair of distinctive puffy pair of lips that they use to spurt jets of water into the sand to flush out any small buried invertebrates; their favorites being crustaceans and mollusks. As omnivores, they’re also big fans of seaweed and sponges.
Trunkfish are one of the few daytime ‘invert feeders’ because they come with their own line of defense. Their self-defense mechanism is secreting a colorless ostracitoxin from glands on its skin when it feels threatened or is touched by something, so you can look at this cute ‘lil guy, but don’t eat or touch! Don’t worry if you spot one though; the toxin is only toxic when ingested.
If you’re on one of our programs in the Caribbean, Bahamas, or Bonaire this summer, keep an eye out for the peas of the sea. They’ll definitely be watching out for you!