Apologies for the lack of action here lately. I’ve been out of town on a much-needed vacation and am gearing up for some summer field work that starts, oh, next week. I’ll be trying to put up a more substantial post a little later, but in the meantime enjoy this awesome video from Coastal Carolina researcher Dr. Erin Burge, who has been mounting cameras on live bottom habitats off of Cape Hatteras to aid in grouper stock assessment. He also got some fantastic underwater footage, and if you watch to the end you’ll see he got more than just grouper…
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What’s the behavior at 6:40? (Two fish line up, touch their lips together, and open their mouths.)
That’s typically thought to be an aggressive display. A few different species do it (I saw hogfish doing the mouth-fighting thing almost every time I went snorkeling in the Keys years ago). I’m not sure if it’s just general territoriality or related to mating.