Another Steven Kovacs shot from a dive off Grand Cayman, this time of a soapfish in full fin. It’s a little over half an inch long with I’d guess a finspan, tip to tip, of maybe an inch. Turns out that the soapfish (there’s a mess of different species of soapfish) is part of the same fish family as the Giant Grouper, which is bigger than a zillion soapfish, fins and all. (Amazing thing, Wikipedia.) Which means at some point (I’ve no idea how long ago, and don’t feel like Googling the day away researching seranid evolution) this splendid little fishling and an 800 pound grouper shared a common ancestor, that is, they were the same fish. That’s some crazily adaptive evolution, not to mention genes gone berserk. The things you can when you can float around…. You can be huge, you can be tiny, whatever works. Amazing thing, marine evolution. I mean, we’re not doing bad out here amid all this air and gravity, and humans themselves show amazing size variation within the species (e.g., me) yet we’re many millions of years from when I’m a grouper and you are all species of soapfish. But I digress.

Soapfish off Grand Cayman, photo by Steven Kovacs.

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