Journal archives for May 2023

May 04, 2023

First observation of a Mozambique Scorpionfish at Norfolk Island

I'm starting to suspect that John Sear, @johnsear, has a thing for Mozambique Scorpionfish. :)
In February 2022 he observed a Mozambique Scorpionfish, Parascorpaena mossambica, in Chowder Bay, which was the first record of the species from Sydney Harbour. Read the journal post.
John has done it again, this time with a first record of a Mozambique Scorpionfish at Norfolk Island.
John stated, "My favourite snorkeling spot on Norfolk Island is Slaughter Bay, which is tide dependent. Being late in the day some of the more cryptic fish had started to appear and this scorpionfish was not particularly concerned with my presence letting me get close enough for a clear photo. It's colouration provided optimal camouflage amongst the coral and surrounding algal mats and I suspect it was waiting to ambush one of the smaller fish also emerging from the coral at that time. Not being very good at identifying species within this family I assumed it was the Cook's scorpionfish, with a different colour variation to the one I had photographed a couple of days before on the same reef."
John wasn't the only person who was unsure which species of scorpionfish he had photographed. We consulted scorpionfish expert Dr Hiroyuki Motomura, who kindly identified the fish for us. Thank you Hiro-san!
Dr Malcolm Francis, @francism, informed us that John's observation is the first time the species has been documented from Norfolk Island. View Malcolm's Checklist of Fishes of Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island and Kermadec Islands.
Thank you as always John for yet another contribution towards documenting our fish fauna. To score a hat-trick you'll need to photograph a Mozambique Scorpionfish at Lord Howe Island or the Kermadec Islands. Good luck!
Posted on May 04, 2023 04:35 AM by markmcg markmcg | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 13, 2023

Tropical Orangespotted Glidergoby in Sydney Harbour

Erik Schlogl has struck a double whammy with this observation.
It's the first record of the species from Sydney Harbour and it's also a massive range extension.
According to the Australian Faunal Directory the southern limit to the distribution of the Orangespotted Glidergoby, Valenciennea puellaris, is One Tree Island, Queensland (23°30'S). Erik's observation at Parsley Bay, Vaucluse, was made over 1100 kilometres south of this.
When asked about his amazing observation, Erik stated, "Well, first of all I'm grateful to Joey DiBattista, @joseph_dibattista, for creating the Marine Biodiversity of southern Sydney Harbour project - prior to this project I never dived Parsley Bay, but it turned out that this is quite a biodiversity hotspot. And this summer brought a lot of tropicals there, especially gobies (two new goby species records for Sydney Harbour, and a third at Camp Cove). So yes, it's always surprising to find a fish out of range, but this year in Sydney Harbour it fits into a pattern."
As Erik said, over the warmer summer months (since the start of December 2022) there have been many range extensions and new records. So far journal posts have been written for only five of these. More are in the pipeline.
Thank you to goby expert Dr Doug Hoese for confirming the identification of 'Erik's fish'.
Posted on May 13, 2023 06:06 AM by markmcg markmcg | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2023

Another new Goby in Sydney Harbour

If you saw the last journal post you might think you were having a Déjà vu. It features the same diver, (@eschlogl), the same family of fishes, (Gobiidae), and another range extension and new record for Sydney Harbour.
This time however the subject of the journal post is a Redspotted Shrimpgoby, Amblyeleotris ogasawarensis. According to the Australian Faunal Directory, in Australia, the species occurs from Lizard Island (14°40'S) to One Tree Island (23°30'S), Queensland. Erik's observation at Camp Cove, Watsons Bay, was made over 1100 kilometres south of this.
If you are planning to dive at Camp Cove please keep a lookout for this fish. It would be interesting to see if it survives the cooler water temperatures over winter.
Thank you to goby expert Dr Doug Hoese for confirming the identification of the fish.
Keep up the great work Erik! :)
Posted on May 22, 2023 05:33 AM by markmcg markmcg | 1 comment | Leave a comment