A Glimpse Into Cold Water Coral Reefs Around Iceland

Thanks to the help of scientific ROV’s, we are not getting a glimpse into this deep dark alien world of Icelandic reefs. These corals live in complete darkness below the mesophotic zone at a depth of 600 – 2,000ft, (200-600…

First Live Photos of Rare Deepwater Grammatonotus xanthostigma

Grammatonotus xanthostigma is a new species of deepwater basslet that was recently described in 2017 after their discovery by technical divers Drs. Brian Greene and Rich Pyle in 2015. Despite its objective beauty both in shape, pattern and color, the…

New ocean zone added to coral “Twilight Zone”

Mesophotic, meet your new neighbor rariphotic. The deep sea Twilight Zone of coral reefs and some insanely beautiful fish has another zone names the rariphotic zone thanks to the Smithsonian Institute’s marine science team that has been studying these depths.…

Sinularia mesophotica, A New Species of Photosyntetic Soft Coral From The Deep

Sinularia mesophotica is a new species of soft coral that has just been described from the deep waters of the Red Sea. This coral is special for a number reasons, not the least of which is how deep it was found…

Genicanthus spinus: First Video of this Rare Angelfish from the Cook Islands

Genicanthus spinus is a species of angelfish so rare that it’s literally one of the few Pomacanthids that we’d never written about, until today. We’ve covered so many rare species of angels like the blackspot pygmy angel, the Abei angelfish, the black…

A new way to photosynthesize discovered in mesophotic coral, Stylophora pistillata

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science found that photosynthetic algae in corals which inhabit mesophotic reefs have a never-before seen adaptation to life in the twilight zone. Researchers found that the Symbiodinium spp. algae responsible for powering photosynthesis…

Prognathodes basabei, or orange margin butterfly, now officially described

Although known to exist for over 20 years and even referenced quite a few times here at Reef Builders, a new species of deep-water butterflyfish from the mesophotic reefs of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument was finally described today by…

Habitat Persistence Hypothesis is Rich Pyle’s exciting theory about deep reef fish

Dr. Rich Pyle is one of the undisputed pioneers of deep reef fish species habitats, and biology. Over the last thirty years, Pyle has been exploring deep mesophotic reefs and discovering new species of reef fish in these habitats at…

Brian Greene, Richard Pyle and Sonia Rowley teases with a surfeit of undescribed species from Pohnpei

To the uninitiated, the mesophotic coral reefs would seem like an unlikely place to find vibrant fish life. Antonymous to the ebullient habitat of shallow water coral gardens, the mesophotic zone is a gloomy contrast of seemingly endless dread and forlorn landscapes. Except not…

The deep sea is on display in Curacao

To most people the Mesophotic Zone is an entirely unknown part of the ocean that very few study and even fewer have physically visited. Yet these areas are more diverse than anticipated and contain a cornicopia of life from the…