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

Scientists discover a new deep-reef Butterflyfish species in


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 ( in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The study was published September 6 in the scientific journal ZooKeys (

“Butterflyfish are the glamour fish of the coral reefs,” said Richard Pyle, Bishop Museum ( 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.