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The mandarinfish or mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), is a small, brightly colored member of the dragonet family. The common name of the mandarinfish comes from its extremely vivid colouration, evoking the robes of an Imperial Chinese mandarin.
The mandarinfish is native to the Pacific, ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia. Mostly found in the shallows, among stag horn corals or coral rubble. They tend to stay in one area, hence once found/discovered, can be easily be located again.
The Mandarinfishes have a very interesting behavior; they mate everyday at sunset! Most Divers who wants to look for Mandarin Fish will have to do a Sunset Dive for a better chance to find them. They can also be found at other time of the day, but can be very shy and hides easily. At sunset, the Males (bigger than the Females), will roam his area/territory looking for willing Females. Once a willing Female is located, they will court for a while before the final act of mating, which is quite a sight, it will float 6-10 inches to the water column side by side (Pic #2, #3 and #4), the Female will release her Eggs in a cloud for the Male to fertilize. This happens within seconds after which, they quickly swim down to the stag horn corals. The Male will then continue to look for other willing Females.