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Any Fin is Possible in the Coral Reef!

Posted on July 6, 2017 by in The OFI Blog

The biodiversity of fish is what makes under-the-sea science and coral reef exploration so fascinating. Surprisingly, only a half of all reef fish are usually visible since the other half, called cryptobenthic reef fish, hide in the coral. No need to worry, however. Cryptobenthic reef fish have been discovered in most of the reefs scientists study and the photographic accounts are spectacular.

The Revillagigedo Barnacle Blenny spends most of its life hiding in tubes and darting out to catch plankton that drifts by.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) postdoctoral fellow Simon Brandl  recently published an article about cryptobenthic reef fishes with colleague Christopher Goatley in Current Biology. Besides their visual wonder, these “live fast and die young” specimens are integral members of the coral reef food webs and offer clues into the process of oceanic evolution.

To read more about Simon’s recent paper, check out a recent Shorelines blog post written by SERC science writing intern Joe Dawson!