Although of unusual shape, the crocodile fish belongs to the scorpionfish family. It owes its name to the shape of the head and the wide mouth, which makes it look like a crocodile.
Fish with a flattened body, broad in the front, and tapered in the back. The head has a triangular shape with the lower jaw more developed therefore the mouth will appear slightly turned upwards. Above the head, there are bony ribs with strong spines.
The color is light brownish gray with large dark spots on the fins and the entire body. The pectoral and ventral fins are spotted. The fish has two dorsal fins, the first of which is preceded by an isolated spine and a rounded caudal fin.
The crocodile fish can reach 70 centimeters. Despite its appearance, it is a harmless fish except for the spines which can cause painful wounds.
Where you can find it here in the big blue world?
A shy frequenter of sandy bottoms and sand mixed with rubble or reef debris, it can encounter up to about 40-50 meters deep. Its juvenile forms, difficult to observe, live during algae and seagrass meadows with a finer sandy bottom.
The most fascinating adaptation of the crocodile fish lies in its eyes to increase the level of camouflage, it’s very mobile and its protruding eyes are partially covered by a thin layer of irregularly shaped tissue. A pseudo-eyelid camouflages the shape of the eye, which is the part of the body most exposed and able to highlight its presence.
Approach and Observation
First, we will have to identify it, but once we find it out and without disturbing the animal, it can be quietly and meticulously observed. It can stay still without moving a single centimeter, remaining motionless, convinced to go unnoticed.
Only when he feels too threatened, will he flee quickly. Remember to keep the right observation distance in order not to turn, even if unintentionally, into the “predator on duty” from which you must escape.
If you want to take a photo of this fish, you must know…
Once the crocodile fish has been identified, I can photograph it without excessive problems thanks to its peaceful nature and the belief that they will not discover it, so the crocodile peach tree is predominantly sedentary.
The problem from a technical point of view we encounter when we must photograph it resting on the sandy bottom, risking, as often happens, to illuminate the light sand beside the subject. Even its flat shape will not allow us to make too many shots unless the subject meets him in situations other than the sandy bottom. Once the fish has been identified, it will be necessary to decide what result we want to get before approaching and positioning ourselves for the shot.
We will approach the subject with the lens while the flash must keep at a distance and slightly tilted upwards to hit the smear subject, minimizing the hit of light on the clear background. If the fish should lie on a coral everything will be easier. As always, it will be important to position yourself with a neutral attitude in front of the subject, avoiding leaning on the coral with the fins. We can get extraordinary results using macro lenses that will allow us to create remarkably interesting close-up shots starting from the detail of the beautiful protruding eyes.