Scientists have found eight potentially new species of reef fish and a potentially new species of bubble coral in waters surrounding the Indonesian island of Bali, according to Conservation International.
The fish and coral were found by a team of 10 scientists during a two-week marine survey that ended Wednesday, said Mark Erdmann, senior adviser for CI’s marine program.
Erdmann said he is 99.9% sure the fish are newly discovered species. With Bali being a well-traveled tourism destination with lots of diving, the new find “tells us there’s still a bit of mystery there.”
“We find that intriguing, knowing that there’s things there that we don’t even know about,” Erdmann said in a phone interview Sunday night.
The species haven’t been named. Erdmann said the fish, with their genus in parenthesis, are:
- Two types of cardinalfish (in the genuses of Apogon and Siphamia).
- Two types of dottybacks (Manonichthys and Pseudochromis).
- A garden eel (Heteroconger).
- A sand perch (Parapercis).
- A fang blenny (Meiacanthus).
- A goby (Grallenia).
Further study will need to be done to confirm the taxonomy, CI said.
The team was surveying the biodiversity in the waters off Bali at the request of Bali’s government, which wanted to assess reef health and get input on the most appropriate places to establish a network of marine parks, Erdmann and CI said.
That April 29-March 11 survey, along with a survey that CI and partners did in 2008, noted 953 species of reef fish and 397 species of coral in Bali’s coastal waters, CI said in a news release.
The scientists found the reefs to be recovering well from previous bleaching and destructive fishing, though they noted a depletion of commercially important reef fish, such as reef sharks, and lots of plastic pollution.
"Compared to 12 years ago, we observed an increase in healthy coral reef in the area surveyed, indicating a recovery phase,” Ketut Sarjana Putra, acting executive director for CI-Indonesia, said in the release. “That is why it needs serious protection and management, to complete the revitalization.”