There are around 275 species of drum fish living in oceans and freshwater. One of the loveliest drums to encounter is the juvenile spotted drum.
Spotted drums are most striking as juveniles when their long flowing fins accentuate a black and white striped pattern that becomes quite hypnotic as they swim in repetitive circular patterns beneath coral overhangs, and in other sheltered crevices. As they mature, and their bodies grow, their dorsal fins become shorter and the stripes along their back half morph into spots.
Drum fish are named for a deep sound they produce by beating their abdominal muscles against their swim bladder. The purpose of the sound varies from species to species, but for many it is used for mating, or as a danger warning. These fish are found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil. We photographed this Spotted Drum during a dive in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras.