CRITTER: Meet kole the Goldring Surgeonfish

  • Terry Lilley / Contributed

    The Goldring Surgeonfish live close to the reef and they feed on algae usually only a few feet away from a cave or crack in the reef of which they dart into if threatened.

Anyone who has dove in Hawai‘i more than likely has seen this attractive, six-inch-long fish, as they are quite common. But most people haven’t looked closely at its actual colors! “Kole” means “raw,” because people eat the fish without cooking it. But once the fish has been caught, it rapidly turns solid gray with its gold ring around the eyes. While scuba diving one day shooting some 4K video with my bright underwater lights, I shot a close-up of kole, and was amazed at the unique colors, and wondered why this fish developed such a stunning color pattern!