Eight new reef fish found off Indonesia's Bali

May 13, 2011
This picture, released by Conservation International Indonesia and taken off the resort island of Bali, shows a new species of fish named 'Meiacanthus.' Scientists have discovered eight new fish and one new coral species off Indonesia's Bali island.

Scienists from Conservation International have discovered eight new fish and one new coral species off Indonesia's Bali island.

The new species include eels and damsels, the colourful little fish that dart among coral branches and help give reefs their dazzling appearance while playing a key role in reef ecology.

"We have carried out a marine survey in 33 sites around Bali island. We have identified 952 reef fish, and among them we discovered eight new species," team senior adviser Mark Van Nydeck Erdmann said.

The surveys were carried out off the popular tourist island's northeast coast at Tulamben, a well-known recreational dive site, as well as Nusa Dua, Gili Manuk and Pemuteran, at depths of 10 to 70 metres (11 to 77 yards).

Erdmann said the new fish species had not been named but they were in the genuses of Siphamia, Heteroconger, Apogon, Parapercis, Meiacanthus, Manonichthys, Grallenia and Pseudochromis.

In their two-week marine survey which ended Wednesday, the team also found a new species of Euphyllia or bubble coral.

Tulamben is the grave of the US Army Transport ship Liberty, which was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942.

Indonesia is a massive archipelago of 17,000 islands which form part of the so-called Coral Triangle, an area of rich marine biodiversity deemed vital to the health of the seas and global food stocks.

In November last year a team of scientists discovered several new species in Indonesia's eastern Papua region, including an eyeless cave fish and a frog that carries its offspring on its back.

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