Our ocean reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, but not all reefs are created equal. In fact Ataúro Island, part of the small Indo-Pacific country Timor-Leste, might just have the most diverse fish population of any reef recently surveyed.
A recent survey of 10 reefs on the island located, just over 15 miles north of the country’s capital Dili, found an average of 253 reef fish species per site, besting the previous record held by Raja Ampat Island in Indonesia’s West Papua province.
The record-setting fish diversity was documented as part of a week-long survey this past July by Conservation International’s (CI’s) Rapid Assessment Program (RAP). During this survey there was 642 different reef fish species found around the island, with one site including 315 species. The research team noted this was in fact the third highest globally and some of the species recorded could be new to science.
“With each study, we discover something new within Timor-Leste’s magnificent biodiversity, making it even more critical to protect marine life here,” Trudiann Dale, Conservation International Timor-Leste’s country director, said in a statement. “The results prove beyond doubt that the reefs of Ataúro Island are extremely diverse and valuable to the people of Timor-Leste.”
[via Monga Bay]