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Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-11
Categories: Fish
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 100, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/200 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Fishes from around the world, Underwater World #2, 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), Different Fish, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, A study in Ichthyology (fish) 1, Underwater Wonder World 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-04-22 22:57
Viewed: 8810
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Pineapplefish - Monocentris japonica

One of the many photos taken at the uShaka Marine World aquarium in Durban, during my short vacation earlier this month. It is the first photo of this species on TrekNature.

Taxonomic Classification

KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
SUPERCLASS: Pisces (fishes)
CLASS: Antinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
ORDER: Beryciformes
FAMILY: Monocentridae (pineconefishes)

Pinecone fishes are small and unusual marine fish. The family contains two genera and just four species, with only this one species found in South African waters. On either side of the lower jaw there is a bioluminescent organ called a photophore: a pale light is produced by symbiotic bacteria within the organ, and the colour of the light varies with ambient light levels - orange by day and blue-green at night. It can be covered or exposed by a fold on the lower jaw. These bright forward directed lights are used to illuminate the small animals on which this species feeds during its night-time foraging expeditions. Intraspecific communication may also be a use for the light.

These fish are very aptly named. Their Bodies are orbicular with enlarged scales, fused to form a solid rough armour. The dorsal fin have 5-6 spines without connecting membranes, canted alternately left and right, and 11-12 rays. The pelvic fin possesses one large erectile spine which can be locked into place, and 3 rays. The anal fin has 9-11 rays and the pectoral fin has 14 rays.

Colouration is typically a uniform golden-yellow or orange-yellow with the soft fins almost transparent. The scales are dramatically outlined in black. The eyes are relatively large, and the mouth oblique and subterminal. Villiform teeth on jaws and platines, no teeth on vomer. Attains 17cm.

Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea to Mossel Bay in South Africa.

These fishes stick to the sublittoral zone; they are associated with ledges, caves, rocky and (occasionally) coral reefs over a hard bottom. Found at 10–400 metres depth (with juveniles frequenting the shallower end of this range, but once they attain adult size, they apparently move to deeper water).

Pinecone fishes are nocturnal and form schools. Adults may be territorial. During the day, juveniles congregate in caves or under ledges. A feeble swimmer.

Small planktonic animals and benthic crustaceans.

Little is known of their reproductive biology, but they are assumed not to guard their brood. Larvae have been raised from eggs fertilised in captivity. Eggs are 1.9mm in diameter, and 21-day-old larvae are 6mm.

Source: "Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa" by Phil & Elaine Heemstra". Published jointly by the National Inquiry Service Centre (NISC), South Africa, and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB).

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

JoseMiguel, greghume, Janice, uleko, nick27, coasties, goutham_ramesh, Aaltjie, Evelynn, Shoot_Score, Dyker, horia, mlines, jeanpaul, thor68, SkyF, septama, dew77, betsie, XOTAELE, Franch, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To jmp: The face of this fishloot 1 06-04 04:01
To goutham_ramesh: About filters & reflectionsloot 2 04-30 02:40
To JoseMiguel: Thanksloot 1 04-29 10:58
To greghume: No special techniqueloot 1 04-29 10:56
To Janice: All in the lightloot 1 04-29 10:37
To Aaltjie: Short storyloot 1 04-29 10:13
To Dyker: Thanksloot 1 04-29 10:01
To horia: Send the newts...loot 1 04-29 09:57
To manyee: About pinecones & pineapplesloot 2 04-24 10:21
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
An very hight quality image for an aquarium shot!
The sharpness of the picture is just remarkable.
I like every single detail shown here, specially the outstanding golden tones on the fish.
I like very much the way in wich you filled the frame with the subject.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Hello Loot
I must echo Jose Miguel's comment - this is one of the best aquarium shots I have seen. Any special technique with the flash?

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-04-22 23:47]

Hello Loot

A striking image.The colour contrast really works well.A well focused shot with lovely sharp detail.It really does look like a pineapple.Great job.TFS


Yes, it does look like a pineapple. Nice coloured and sharply marked Loot. Very good considering it was through the glass window.
(I took some lately and used a higher ISO, but I didn't use the flash, and all were a bit soft.)
You should be very pleased with this one,

  • Great 
  • Bac Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 93 W: 3 N: 33] (486)
  • [2007-04-23 1:10]


The shot of this pineapple is interesting. TFS.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-04-23 2:03]

Hello Loot,
What a beautiful fish with a very fitting name! An interesting species I've never seen before. Superb sharpness and brilliant colours. A brilliant shot!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hi Loot,
What a great shot, the colours are brilliant and it is such an unusual fish. Great shot,
Nick :-)

Hi Loot

I can see why it is called a Pinecone fish. Those dark marking are certainly in the shape of an open pinecone. A well executed shot. Very clear and sharp. Very good work through glass! :-)

Considering that you shot this through glass, its a amazing shot! The colors and the details on the body of the fish is superb.
I have one question , do you recommend any filters like polarizer to cut down reelections when you shoot in an aquarium?

Unbelievable! this is one of the best pictures I have ever seen of a fish!- not only because it is so unusual - the timing and colour is perfect and there is not a sign of the reflection of the glass - well done Loot!

Spectacular species, but well exposed with flash.
Great sharpness an amazing contrast against the blue background.
Good work

Dear Loot

What a remarkable fish! I have not seen anything like this before.
I searched for more photos and notes on this fascinating species and must tell you, yours is the best looking picture of them all.
Not even the one on www.fishbase.org came close to yours. Thanks my friend for once again sharing such an interesting species with me, and of course the rest of the Trek Nature community.

Everything about this photo is in clear detail. Perfect! The colors are stunning. You sure are a photographer par excellence. I have visited aquariums with my children and know how some of the windows look after a crowd of people has passed by. Finger marks, ice-cream splashes etc etc. How you managed to hide all the spots and marks away is remarkable. Or do you take Shorty along with a ladder and window cleaner to wipe all the marks before you start shooting these pics? (Ha –ha please tell her I am only pulling her leg!)

This fish is actually looking quite upset. As if it’s got a long lip.(soos dikbek).That is how I feel at the moment. I honestly think that your pictures and notes do not get the acknowledgement it deserves. And I’ll stop right here, before I aggravate some fellow members and get some nasty e-mails in my box again.

I am looking forward to your next posting.

I wish I could put a star at every-one of your pictures, but I read somewhere you can only have 100 favourites. What am I going to do if all your future postings are better than the ones you have already posted?

Warmest regards

  • Great 
  • rimas Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 157 W: 3 N: 667] (5094)
  • [2007-04-23 11:03]

Hello Loot,
Outstanding image. Great timing, fantastic colour of this unusual fish. I never saw that quality an aquarium shot!
Thank you! Best regards,

Hi Loot,

What a beauty this fellow is!. I've never seen anything like him. He is a jewel. Nice flash camera work through glass!

Evelynn : )

Hierdie pragtig mooi! The nick is well deserved Loot!
The miniature clearly shows it!
Beautiful capture without any evidence shoting thru glass.
The gold on blue is fantastic!

PS Around here the Monocentris japonica is also called the "pinecone fish"

I quote: ""These fish are aptly named; their rounded, compressed bodies are completely covered (with the exception of the caudal peduncle) with very large, strong platelike scales fortified with prominent ridges. The ""

Hi Loot.
Fantastic DOV. Nice capture with excellent sharpness and colours. Well done. tfs. Stev

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-04-24 4:16]
  • [+]

Hello Loot
Another super aquarium shot. You seem to have this technique sorted out to the "T". One day I would like to visit the uShaka Marine World with you just to see how you do it and to learn first hand from the master. It is clear from all the other critiquers that the TN members value your aquarium shots for the unblemished and perfect results you attain with this kind of photography. One after the other you keep on surprising us with even better photos than the previous and you show us the beauty of the fishes found along the South African coastline. This little beauty is no exception. I've never seen or heard about it before. The exposure (with the flash), focus, colours, composition, and the background are all perfect. Btw, I notice this is a TrekNature first as I do not find any other photos of this species on the site.

Is that a pineapple or a pinecone fish, Loot?
Haha... In any case, it is just gorgeous.
How did you catch that iridescence through the glass and the water?
Fantastic details on this fish (whatever his name is) with the most amazing designs. I have never seen anything like that.
Beautiful colors and light.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-04-24 4:58]
  • [+]

Hi Loot

Another picture that can easily serve as an example as how an aquarium shot should look like!
Tell you what...if i have to take some more newt shots, i'll send them to you and let you take the shots :)))))
My, friend, the focus and sharpness here is simply fantastic!
Everything about this beautiful fish is is FULL-focus and crispy-clear! I really love the visible details on its scales and fins.
The lighting is also terrific and the POV excellent.
Very nice and interestng note to go with it, too.
All-in-all: a splendid work!

Bravo and TFS

Hello Loot,
Excellent details and eye-catching colours!
The subject is captured with very fine details under demanding conditions, close-up work is very well done...
Attractive composition!
Pablo -

Hi Loot. Good composition and cropping of this fish with interesting markings. Brilliant clarity and colours throughout. Lack of reflections which can be a problem with this sort of shot. Murray.

Hi Loot,
You've got a perfect day to photos in acquarium in that journey. Despite it was taken behind the glass the quality is marvelous, looks like it was taken underwater.
Colours, sharpness and details are excellent...and the fish oddly beautiful, I never see something similar!
Good job my friend

Hi Loot,
Thank you very much for your encourage and help.
my level of English language is very low, so I cannot express myself clearly in English. But I should try to do it.


Hi Loot,
A very high quality image.
The sharpness of the picture is outstanding.


Salut Lott
Excellente prise avec ce magnifique poisson
Les couleurs sont éclatantes et la netteté est parfaite. Félicitations pour la qualité On jurerais qu'il n'y a pas de vitre sur cette prise..

Merci et a bientôt.....JP

  • Great 
  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2007-05-01 16:13]

he looks kind of sad...but why should he?!
he had been photographed by our very special Loot and shown to all us here on TN! :-)
what a beautiful fish with his golden body and the black net "painted" on him.
thank you very much for this perfect shot and presentation - although i miss one thing,
unfortunately "Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa" does not tell us how he tastes and how to serve him. *lol*
well done & best wishes, thorsten.

ps. how is your knee?

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-05-01 21:28]

Hi Loot
can see where this name is coming from, wuite interesting making on this fish, which you captured very well. You did great the sharpness this capture is amazing. Not sure if it is through glass or a underwater shot. Which ever, the clearity and colors are excellent.

Hi Loot,
Gosh this guy looks a lot like a pine cone, the pattern is very interesting on this really nicely captured shot. I like also how the trasparent fins allow the backcolor to come through completely. If you can imagine the fish with its tail pointed directly up vertical and kind of squint your eyes enough to were the fins disapear it really looks like a pinecone. :)

Hi Loot,
nice and clear capture of this pineaple wannabe fish, really love the gold color sparkling from its scale, the dark blue background even more highlight the creatures. Eventhough you shot it in captivation but it still seem so natural for me, TFS

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-05-12 4:17]

Hello Loot,
Very nice capture ot this beautiful fish.Colors,use of light,sharpness and framing are excellent.

Hello Loot,
This one is really looks like pineapple skin. Great technique to shoot a picture through thick glass. Crisp clear image to appreciate. TFS,

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-06-03 13:41]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
I bookmarked this photo weeks ago and now I find the face of this fish appropriate... Really good reflections and colors. Golden/blue contrast is absolutely beautiful!
TFS, José M.

Hola Loot.
Una fantástica captura.
Un colorido fabuloso con unos detalles magníficos.
Estupenda nota. Saludos, JL.

Hello Loot.

Excellent image, nice composition and colors.
Very good details.

Jose Luis.


Really great detail, amazing colours... i havn't ever seen this pinneapple fish!!

good shot!

thanks for sharing!

Hallo Loot
The colours are so vivid and beautifully bright. The golden fish with its black linings a great display against the blue background. Very sharp details and excellent focus. This photo is so neatly presented that it looks as if it has been cut out with a scissors all along the lines. It actually looks as if it has been varnished. I think it is spectacularly done. If I was not present the day you took the photograph I could easily think it is a case of making belief it is the trueth but infact it is not. But as I said, I was there and this is for real.
Thanks for sharing.

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