The Fire Dartfish Nemateleotris magnifica also known as the Fire Goby or Red Fire Dartfish is an unusually shaped and colorful fish. Firefish are not actually gobies and are in the Pteroleotridae family.
The Fire dartfish has a pale yellow head which fades into white with light blue spots. It has a blue line between the eyes that extends back to the dorsal fin. The upper section of the eye has a blue line around it. The rear part of the body is a reddish brown color with a symmetrical greenish line across the rear dorsal and anal fins. The prominent dorsal fin is yellow.
IN THE WILD
Fire Dartfish are usually seen hovering over rubble or sandy areas of the reef. Usually they hover just above their burrow and as the name implies, they are quick to dart into their hole. They are seen singly or in pairs but occasionally four or five may be seen in a small group but this is rare. They normally hover with their head in a slightly upright position facing into the current as can be seen in the images. The bright yellow dorsal fin appears to be used to signal each other and is often flicked up or down.
The Fire Dartfish is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific. They are found between depths of 6-30 meters. More usually they are seen around 13 to 18 meters in depth.
The Fire Dartfish feed mainly on zooplankton and as a result are mainly found in areas with a fair amount of current. They hover above their burrow facing into the current and wait for zooplankton to come to them. They make quick darting movements to grab passing titbits. Gut analysis has revealed that they feed mainly on copepods in the wild.
During breeding pairs are formed but very little seems known of their breeding habits other than they seem to form monogamous pairs. Some accounts have them keeping the eggs in the burrow tended by the males and others have them close to the burrow tended by both male and female.
FLAME DARTFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: N. magnifica
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser