The last animal anyone would expect to find in the sunny Caribbean is the Killer Whale, or Orca (Orcinus Orca), but that's just we saw one lucky day back in 2003, right off the shores of West End, Roatan. Most often associated with cold waters and a diet of seals, the Orca is actually found in all oceans of the world.
In fact, the Orca is believed to be the second most widely-ranging mammal on earth after humans!
A male Orca can grow to a length of 32 feet and weigh up to 10 tons! They are sociable animals and will spend most of their lives in the pod, using teamwork to herd and catch their prey. In the warmer waters of the Caribbean their usual diet consists mostly of fish and dolphin meat, although they have been know to follow pods of whales.
Spotted Drums are on of the most iconic reef fishes in the Caribbean, and they are a favorite for underwater photographers. They always stay on the same small patch of the reef, using their elongated dorsal fins to sweep themselves back and forth continuously across their small territory. As juveniles these long dorsal fins will be even longer than their tails. They can be usually be found in groups of two, three or even more individuals. Despite their name, the spotted drum only gets it's spots late in life, starting at the tail and slowly up to the back. The dorsal fins shorten to small, pointed spines as they grow older. The Spotted Drum belongs to the Croaker family, because of the sounds they can sometimes make.
How to tell them apart:
Other members of the Croaker family, such as the Highhat and the Jackknifefish, look almost identical when they are young, and it can be difficult to tell the species apart. The easiest way is to look closely at their snouts (if they will keep still long enough to let you!) The Spotted Drum has a single black spot on it's snout. The Highhat will have a black bar running between it's eyes, and the Jackknife Fish has a black line running down it's nose. The Jackknife can also have a more yellowish tint than it's cousins. Happy hunting!
Is a Canadian-born South African living in Honduras, who no longer knows where his accent is from. He has been diving all over the world, but has chosen Roatan as his home because of it's incredible underwater biodiversity. He has spent many thousands of hours underwater, and he is still finding something new on every dive.