You know why Pterapogon kauderni is called the Banggai cardinalfish? Because originally it was found only around the Banggai Islands of Sulawesi, Indonesia. After several years of reported sightings of banggai cardinalfish a long way from home, the snapshot above taken by Tony Wu in Lembeh Strait clearly shows a thriving population of Banggai cardinalfish where there should be none. The Banggai Islands are a long way from aquarium fish exporting locations and it is believed the fish was introduced in Lembeh and Bali so that they would be easier to reach, and therefore cheaper to sell to the aquarium market. With all the hooplah that was made about the over-collection of this iconic species, it looks like with their newfound settlements outside of Banggai the future of the black and white cardinalfish is probably more secure than ever. However, what this means for other native species in Lembeh and Bali is unsure but if it’s anything like the Lionfish invasion in the Atlantic, some species which occupied the same eco-niche will likely suffer. On a related note, the latest issue of Aqua, International documents the sightings of two Pomacanthus maculosus angelfish in the Mediterranean Sea, off of Beirut Lebanon. The Mac angelfish is normally found in the Western Indian Ocean and Red Sea, both of which are on the other side of the Suez Canal from the Lebanese waters where the mac angels were caught. It is very possible that some Mac angelfish are migrating out of the Red Sea into the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal but intentional release also cannot be ruled out. With international shipping and the aquarium hobby both on the rise, the instances of out of place fish are likely to increase in frequency. Let’s just hope we don’t get corallivorous butterflyfish invading the Caribbean, that’s the last thing Atlantic corals need.
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