Blue Eyed Triplefin, Notoclinops segmentatus

The Blue-eyed Triplefin (Notoclinops segmentatus) is a fish belonging to the genus Notoclinops, most commonly found around the North Island of New Zealand from depths of one meter to about 30 meters, most common in reef areas of broken rock. It achieves a length of between 3 and 6 centimeters and is easily distinguishable from other small fish by its iridescent blue eyes which give it its name. There are nine vertical bars colored red running right around be body, and an orange tinge to the back and the head.

Within the breeding season in the winter the orange on the male fish, in addition to becoming territorial, becomes brighter on the head, the tail, and the anal fin. The rest of the body becomes a blueish black color. The males set up nests in a small depression on vertical rock faces at depths of about 10 to 20 meters where the females are encouraged to lay their eggs. The nest is then guarded by the males.

The Blue-eyed Triplefin fish diet is made up of small crustaceans including amphipods and copepods. This fish has also been known to remove parasites from the larger fish.

Image Caption: Notoclinops segmentatus (Blue-eyed triplefin). Credit: Ian Skipworth/Wikipedia