Red Sea Fish

Israel controls about a 10km strech of Red Sea shores, all part of Eilat, Israel's "southern gate" located at the northern tip of the Gulf of Eilat (aka Gulf of Aqaba). Some of Eilat's major tourist attractions are linked to the Red Sea, including a coral reef, colorful fish, the Dolphin Reef – where one can observe a group of dolphins, the Underwater Observatory at the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, and all kinds of water sports.

The stamp was issued in 2011, part of the 3-stamps Visit Israel 2011 series. Designer: Meir Eshel.

The previous stamps, featured with the Hebrew article (issued in 1962), show right-to-left the following Red Sea fish:

Pennant Corn Fish (Heniochus Acuminatus) –
This fish, as its name indicates, has a long pennant-shaped appendage to its dorsal fin. It is found in the shallow coastal waters of Eilat and other basins of the Red Sea. The young fish are stationary and live at a depth of 2 to 5 meters in schools of 15 to 20 fish. When the fishes mature, their mode of life is entirely different. They move freely through the labyrinths of the coral reefs and during the mating season they live in couples.

Butterfly Fish (Chaetodon Lunula) –
The colorful butterfly fishes are found abundantly in the coral reefs. They are of small size with brilliant colors and bold markings. There are a profusion of different species: many having similar patterns but no two of them are identical. The butterfly fish has a small protruding mouth with bands of fine bristle-like teeth which enable it to feed only on algae and on little animals growing on the coral stones.

Lion Fish (Pterois Volitans) –
During the day Fire Fish hide in the crevices and caves of the coral reefs. At sundown they begin to swim slowly through the reefs. The little fishes encountered on the way fall easy prey to the fast-moving Fire Fish. Like other species of the same Scorpion fish family the Fire fish is highly poisonous. The toxic substance is produced by the dermis cells and is transmitted by the fin rays and by the spines located on the head of the fish.

Angel Fish (Holocanthus Imperator) –
This species is very common in the Eilat coastal waters, especially among the reefs facing the open sea. The most interesting feature of the Angel fish is the changing of the color pattern which takes place during the growth of the fish. The young specimen are black with concentric streaks of white or blue. The mature fish are purple-brown with numerous oblique yellow bands and yellow paired fins. They feed on algae and little animals.