Any Fin is Possible in the Coral Reef!
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.
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.