Stephen Tapply Photography
Underwater Photography 5

Mating Mandarin Fish

The mandarinfish or mandarin dragonet, Synchiropus splendidus is a small, brightly-colored
member of the dragonet family which grows to about 6cm, the male being much larger than
the female. They live under coral or rubble and comes out daily at dusk - exactly.
For about ten minutes, mandarinfish mate, and it all happens very quickly - to see this
you either need to be incredibly lucky, or to have divemasters as good as those employed
by Thresher Shark Divers on Malapascua.
I chose the second option - see the last few photos...

Here's a solitary male still searching He's seen something below him
Courtship dance? This lucky guy has a choice of partners... but he seems reluctant to choose...
Maybe she's the one? Looks like these have paired up, too. The actual mating takes just seconds
so you have to be ready to get the photo Here's another amorous couple And another
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