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Blue Angels, by Lee James Pantas

Painting #3 Blue Angels

Prints available at artist's website

Fantasy Biology

Liza's Reef, coral reef art

Blue Angels (Anges Bleus) are one of the most striking jellyfish species that are found on Liza's Reef. Large in size, they have  translucent blue domes that sparkle with glowing white points of light, and shimmering white tentacles that can extend for over  a meter. And like most jellyfish, they display a perfect radial symmetry with body parts radiating from a central axis. They  have a fairly wide range, and unlike many of the unique species found on the reef,  are also found on the other coral reefs surrounding VanuaSemia. The natives on the island claim they are not harmful to man even though they possess a full complement of stinging nematocysts, and are considered  to be ho'ailona Ho'omaika'i - "a sign of blessing", whenever they are seen.  They seem to feed mainly on zooplankton, small fish  and free floating crustaceans.

Liza's Reef, coral reef artOne of the more common fish on the reef are small Raie Bleue Chromis, or Blue Stripe Chromis, shown in the thumbnail image to the left.  Chromis species are extremely abundant on the coral reefs of the South Pacific, and Liza's Reef is no exception. However, these small blue striped varieties seem to be  indigenous only to the reef, and to the best of my knowledge are the only striped species in existence. In my painting I have shown only a pair, but they are often found in schools that may number up to several thousand individuals, creating a fantastic sight as they swim over the corals, turning and gliding in extreme unison.

Liza's Reef, coral reef artLiza's Reef also has a number of strange animals  which resemble insects rather than typical coral reef fauna. One such creature is a rather large (two inches at least in length) caterpillar-like animal that displays a luxurious combination of greens, yellow and purple markings. They are usually seen  crawling slowly on the Corail Royal but often encountered them in floating in the water, propelled by the white and black flagella that were located on their dorsal surface.