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New marine species discovered in the Amirantes | 01 July 2019

New marine species discovered in the Amirantes

The new species of fish discovered in the Amirantes

Former director of Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) D’Arros research centre, Dr Ryan Daly, has discovered an entirely new species of fish in the Seychelles.

He and his team of researchers, who were based on D’Arros Island in the Amirantes Group of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles, discovered the fish at a manta ray cleaning station in shallow water just in front of the island’s laboratory. Little is known about the dwarfgoby group, to which the new species belongs.

The discovery comes in the wake of an SOSF-led rapid biodiversity assessment, which confirmed an exceptional diversity of species living within the marine ecosystems of these remote islands.

“Aside from discovering this new little fish, our team increased the number of known species in the area from 220 to 514 in just 19 survey days,” explains Daly. “This is exciting news for science and illustrates the significance of the Seychelles from a conservation perspective. The sheer scale of new descriptions for the seas around St Joseph Atoll near D’Arros Island reminds us of how much we still don’t know about our oceans.”

In true scientific tradition, the fish has been named Eviotadalyi, as a nod to its discovery. It has been officially described by taxonomist David Greenfield, an expert on the fish in this group. According to Greenfield, one of the most striking features of E. dalyi is its unique colour pattern, comprising bright red-and-white mark­ings on its head and orange and yellow bars crossing its translucent body. Not only are these descriptors reminiscent of the Seychelles’ colourful national flag, they are also distinctive and not similar to any of the 116 other species of dwarfgoby. Greenfield’s full description has been published in the June 2019 issue of Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.

The SOSF believes that without concerted efforts to describe the life in our oceans, including those in the richly biodiverse waters of the Seychelles, proper con­servation management cannot take place. Without such management, ocean ecosystems are put at risk.

“This discovery demonstrates the incredible biodiversity around D’Arros Island and St Joseph Atoll and show­cases the need to further protect this ‘Aldabra of the Amirantes’ for the Seychelles and its people,” comments chief executive Michael Scholl.

‘The Save Our Seas Foundation supported a number of research and conservation projects at the SOSF D’Arros research centre. These projects are critically important to better understand and therefore protect the exceptional biodiversity that is found here,” comments Aurélie Grospiron, director of communication.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2003, the SOSF is a philanthropic organisation that aims to protect and care for the world’s oceans. Its support for research, conservation and education projects worldwide focuses primarily on endangered species of sharks, rays, skates and their habitats.

Three permanent SOSF research and education centres reinforce its action in the Seychelles, South Africa and the USA.

Over the past 15 years, the SOSF has supported some 300 projects worldwide, passionately upholding the Founder’s pledge to protect the populations of sharks, rays and skates whose presence is essential to the health and biological diversity of our seas.

 

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