Another Indo-Pacific fish species has been recently discovered off the shores of Florida. Two women diving near West Palm Beach saw a fish they never saw before and had the inking it didn’t belong. They snapped photos and reported it to the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) that identified the fish as the mimic lemon peel surgeonfish, also known as a chocolate surgeonfish.
After identifying the fish, the divers kept track of the fish and eventually captured it with hand nets and shipped to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada to be displayed as an educational tool on the hazards of invasive species. This is the first time a Indo-Pacific surgeonfish was found off the Atlantic Coast.
Florida has seen a dangerous rise in lionfish in recent years that are wreaking havoc on local ecosystems as they have no predators in their adopted environment. A representative of REEF, established to provide the SCUBA diving community a way to contribute to the understanding and protection of marine populations, that this removal hopefully will avert another situation similar to the spread of the lionfish.
[via Miami Herald, photo credit Deb Devers]