SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 17, October 2016 - Page 36

Scientists discover a new deep-reef Butterflyfish species in

Papahānaumokuākea

Marine National Monument

Discovery highlights a wealth of previously unknown biodiversity

cientists from the Bishop Museum and NOAA have published a description of a new species of butterflyfish from deep

reefs of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (www.papahanaumokuakea.gov) in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The study was published September 6 in the scientific journal ZooKeys (zookeys.pensoft.net).

“Butterflyfish are the glamour fish of the coral reefs,” said Richard Pyle, Bishop Museum (www.bishopmuseum.org) scientist and lead author on the publication. “They are colorful, beautiful, and have been very well-studied worldwide. Finding a new species of butterflyfish is a rare event.”

Deep coral reefs at depths of 150 to 500 feet, also known as mesophotic coral ecosystems or “the coral-reef twilight zone,” are among the most poorly explored of all marine ecosystems. Deeper than most scuba divers can venture, and shallower than most submersible-based exploration, these reefs represent a new frontier for coral reef research.

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