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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New species recorded in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park

Summer has brought excitement to the Lord Howe Island Marine Park (LHIMP) with the discovery of three new fish species. These species, previously unrecorded in the marine park, include the potbelly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominals), seawhip goby (Bryaninops yongei), and lattice butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesii).

Potbelly Seahorse:

Resident Vivienne Crombie’s sharp eyes spotted a potbelly seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) for the first time in the LHIMP. While seahorses are occasionally seen in the marine park, this species, confirmed by the Australian Museum, is typically found in New Zealand and southern mainland Australia. The discovery of this seahorse, measuring up to 35cm, washed ashore on Lagoon Beach, adds to the park’s biodiversity.

Whip Goby:

Dr Chris Preston, a regular visitor, photographed the seawhip goby Bryaninops yongei, another first-time record for the LHIMP. This tiny fish, known for its semi-transparency, inhabits the seawhip Cirripathes angina, a type of black coral. Dr Preston’s dedication to documenting marine life highlights the importance of the LHIMP in preserving biodiversity.

Lattice Butterflyfish:

Kim Pryor, a returning visitor, spotted a lattice butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesii) at Sylphs Hole, marking the first sighting of this species in the LHIMP. The vibrant yellow fish, observed alongside a goldstripe butterflyfish, adds to the allure of snorkeling in Lord Howe Island’s protected waters.

These discoveries underscore the importance of ongoing monitoring and reporting efforts in the LHIMP. They contribute valuable data to scientific research and enhance our understanding of marine ecosystems. To stay updated on marine park news, subscribe to the monthly newsletter or contact Lord Howe Island Marine Park staff for more information.

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