Banggai cardinalfish are so cute, what’s the worst that could happen if we set them loose in a non-native habitat? So far we’ve only been hearing about the details of the introduction, and we’ve debated what it means for a marine fish species to be truly called “invasive“. This new video from Zoological Services details Pterapogon kauderni where it doesn’t belong and the harm it is doing to the local habitats.
In Lembeh Strait there are a lot of long spine urchins, Diadema species, and large host anemones. The urchins and anemones are important habitat for the local cardinalfish species, shrimpfish and a diversity of clownfish species. But with no native predators to keep the Banggai cardinalfish population in check, the invaders crowd around the important biotopes, crowding out local species. The Banggai cardinalfish is threatened in it’s native habitat, yet it is invasive in another. That’s irony.
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