|Stamp Name||Sp.476 Taiwan Coral-Reef Fish Postage Stamps (Issue of 2005)|
|Stamp Cat Standard||Special Stamps|
|Stamp Cat||Fish, Environmental Protection|
|Dimension of stamps(mm.)||40 x 30 （mm）|
|Size of souvenir Sheet (mm.)|
|Printer||Cardon Enterprise Co., Ltd.|
|Sheet composition||20 (5 x 4) for full-sheet
8 (2 sets) for mini pane
|Process||Deep etch offset|
|Paper||Phosphorescent stamp paper
|Perforation||11 1/2 x 12|
Taiwan is situated on the edge of the Eurasian Plate and right where the three marine ecosystems of the Philippine Sea, East China Sea and South China Sea meet. As a result, Taiwan has high biodiversity of marine life in the waters around it, with marine ecosystems specific to coral reefs, sandy or muddy shores, river estuaries, lagoons, oceans and the deep sea. To promote more understanding about the island’s abundant marine life and to draw attention toward its coral reefs that are currently seriously damaged and threatened, Chunghwa Post has asked Dr. Kwang-tsao Shao, the acting director of the Research Center for Biodiversity of the Academia Sinica, to plan three sets of postage stamps based on popular colorful reef fish often seen in the coral reefs and aquariums of Taiwan.
The designs of the stamps follow:
(1) Rhinomuraena quaesita (NT$5): Commonly known as ribbon eel or ribbon moray. A member of the order Anguilliformes, its vibrant colors and slender body make it look like a colorful ribbon under the sea. It hides in sandy underground holes in and around coral reefs by day and emerges to prey on other fish or crustaceans by night. Its Chinese name, which would directly translate as “tube nose moray,” comes from the two leaf-like tubular nostrils on its upper jaw.
(2) Pomacanthus semicirculatus (NT$5): Commonly known as semicircle angelfish. It is bigger, more colorful and has more intricate patterns than butterfly fish. Its large, flat and flexible body, and in particular the posterior part of its dorsal and pelvic fins that extends behind as filament, make it look very elegant and glamorous under the sea. Being rather shy, divers seldom have the pleasure of spotting it. The lucky ones who do are often astonished by its beauty. The aquariums in Taiwan call it the “Emperor Fish.”
(3) Forcipiger flavissimus (NT$12): Commonly known as longnose butterfly fish. Butterfly fish are one of the most beautiful and elegant kinds of underwater creatures. The longnose butterfly fish is a butterfly fish with an especially long and slender snout, enabling it to feed on small shrimps, crabs or polychaeta hidden in the crevices of coral. Its brilliant colors make it a favorite for aquariums.
(4) Pterois volitans (NT$25): Commonly known as red lionfish. Its long dorsal fins and pectoral fins make it look like an awe-inspiring lion. It often appears seemingly motionless and its movements always convey a casual and unhurried impression. The swaying motions of its fins are actually how red lionfish defend themselves. Rather than to draw attention to the fish’s dazzling coloration and glamorous appearance, those motions warn everybody to stay away. Because its dorsal, pelvic and anal fins all contain a poison gland at the base, it is a highly toxic sea creature, and one has to take care in handling it whether raising it in tanks or catching it in the sea.
For the first time, mini panes (in A5 size, containing two sets of stamps) will be released along with the stamps, in addition to first-day covers, folders with and without crystal mounts and loose-leaf album pages. Due to the limited numbers of this mini pane, anyone interested should reserve a copy either at a post office window or a philately service center.