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Pictures: 25 New Reef Fish Found—"Beautiful" Basslet, More

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Christiana Hanaman
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« on: June 30, 2012, 07:26:29 pm »

Pictures: 25 New Reef Fish Found—"Beautiful" Basslet, More



Fairy Basslet

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

Known from only a single, deep reef off Indonesia, this "beautiful" fairy basslet is 1 of 25 new coral reef fish species making their debuts this month in a three-volume book set,Reef Fishes of the East Indies.

Among the new fish, the basslet, Pseudanthias mica, is a favorite of co-author Mark V. Erdmann, who named it after his daughter Mica, an avid diver at age 12.

"Fairy basslets, though closely related to groupers, are small plankton feeders that usually occur in groups of tens to occasionally hundreds, and the males [are] especially very brightly pastel-colored," said Erdmann, a Conservation International marine biologist, via email.

Compiling more than 60 years of data, the new guide details 2,500 species of reef fish, doubling the number previously reported in the area.

By highlighting the diversity of fish in the Coral Triangle, the South China Sea, and the Andaman Sea, Erdmann hopes to convince decision makers to prioritize the areas for conservation.

"When speaking with community members here, we frequently explain [that the region's oceans act] as a 'species factory'—and note how important it is to keep the factory running well!"

(See "Best Underwater Pictures: Winners of 2012 Amateur Contest.")

—Christine Dell'Amore

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 07:28:18 pm »




"Tripod" Fish

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

Recently discovered on a reef about 200 feet (60 meters) underwater, Pteropsaron longipinnis is a "delicate, beautiful little species," Erdmann said.

"The small fish occurs in groups of 8 to 15, with a single large male and a harem of smaller females," he said.

"They hover over clean white sand and dive under the sand if approached too closely. The males especially have very elongate pelvic fins that they can use, in essence, as a tripod to prop themselves above the sand."

(Read blog post: "Saving the Coral Triangle.")
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 07:29:12 pm »



Clingfish

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

The tiny clingfish Aspasmichthys alorensis is known only from the Alor Strait in southeastern Indonesia—an area renowned for "ferocious currents," according to Conservation International (CI).

But rough waters turned out to be fortuitous for Erdmann and co-author Gerry Allen—also a CI marine biologist—who found the species while taking shelter in a rock depression during a dive.

"As we were resting in this tiny depression out of the current and trying to plan our next move, I was staring down at the reef below me to try to calm my nerves," Erdmann said.

"I noticed the tiny little fish—it is less than a half-inch [1.3 centimeter] long—'crawling' along a small sponge. I called Gerry over to look at it, and after several minutes of staring, he became convinced, as was I, that this was something special."

(See "Pictures: Nine Fish With 'Hands' Found to Be New Species.")

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 07:30:00 pm »



Reef From Above

Photograph by Wolcott Henry, National Geographic

A diver surveys a coral reef off Indonesia's Bunaken island, part of the so-called Coral triangle (file picture).

The biodiverse Coral Triangle region includes Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Timor Leste (East Timor), Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

(See coral reef pictures.)
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 07:31:19 pm »



School Lunch

Photograph by Mauricio Handler, National Geographic

A school of anthias fish feed over a reef in Indonesia's Komodo National Marine Park in the Coral Triangle (file picture).

None of the 25 new species are considered endangered, Erdmann said. Nevertheless, he said, Southeast Asian fishers are known to sometimes use destructive fishing practices, such as blasting reefs to kill fish.

"I'm happy to note, though, that in many of the areas where we found these new species—West Papua in particular—there are some outstanding 'homegrown' conservation success stories, where local communities are now actively guarding their reefs and have set aside large marine protected areas (MPAs), where fishing is strictly controlled and destructive fishing is outright banned and actively enforced.

"We are increasingly seeing this across the region—and that is good news for reefs and reef fish."

(See pictures of colorful sea creatures.)

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 07:32:41 pm »



Candy Striper

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

Lepidichthys akiko, a new species of "beautiful, candy-striped clingfish," is known only from deep reefs off western New Guinea, according to Conservation International.

Clingfish stick to objects via suckers on their undersides.

(See "First Pictures: Wild Fish Uses Tool.")

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 07:33:43 pm »



Fairy Goby

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

A new species of "delicate fairy goby with iridescent blue eyes," Tryssogobius sarah was found in depths of between 130 and 230 feet (40 and 70 meters).

(More goby news: "Coral Reef Fish Starve Themselves to Maintain Social Order.")

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 07:34:32 pm »



"Bizarre" Scorpionfish

Photograph courtesy Roger Steene, Conservation International

Already known to science, the "bizarre looking" scorpionfish Pteroidichthys amboinensis is among the world's more than 1,200 species of venomous fish.

(Also see "Venomous Fish Far Outnumber Snakes, Other Vertebrates, Study Says.")

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 07:35:09 pm »



Giant Frogfish

Photograph courtesy Roger Steene, Conservation International

A rare photograph from the new book shows a known species of giant frogfish—Antennarius commersoni—and its floating egg raft. Frogfish, a subset of anglerfish, have leglike fins on both sides of their bodies.

(See a picture of a "psychedelic" frogfish found in Indonesia.)

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 07:35:40 pm »



Filet-O-Fish

Photograph courtesy Roger Steene, Conservation International

A snake eel bites off perhaps more than it can chew while eating a flounder in another rare picture featured in the book.

Another type of eel, the moray eel, has a second set of toothed jaws that drag prey into its throat-much like the fearsome star of the Alien movies.

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 07:36:10 pm »



Dwarf Goby

Photograph courtesy Gerald Allen, Conservation International

Described in 2011, Eviota rubriceps is a type of dwarf goby.

Erdmann hopes the book "will both inspire the people of the [East Indies] to further appreciate the tremendous marine biodiversity they are custodians of, while also helping guide governmental efforts to better manage their marine resources for the benefit of their citizenry."

Published June 28, 2012
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Christiana Hanaman
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2012, 07:36:46 pm »



Photograph courtesy Ximena Olds, RSMAS

Published June 28, 2012


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/06/pictures/120628-coral-reefs-fish-species-new-oceans-animals-conservation-science-scorpionfish-eel-flounder/#/best-underwater-pictures-sea-slug-grass_52164_600x450.jpg
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