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Endemic Fish of the Bird’s Head Seascape by Drs. Gerald Allen & Mark Erdmann

You all know that the BHS is a special place.  It’s special for a number of reasons.  Scientists agree that the Bird’s Head Seascape is the most bio-diverse marine habitat on the planet, containing 1871 fish species (to date).  That’s a lot of species!  And with all those species swimming around, some of them are bound to be endemic, meaning that they evolved in the region and are found nowhere else. In fact there are over 50 endemic fish species in the area (57 actually, depending on how you count!).
Note: a few species have recently been found roaming outside their “original neighborhood”, but you get the picture.

Some are deeper water species (found below safe sport diving depths) but many are easily located by observant, informed divers and snorkelers.  Some are small and nondescript but many are knock-outs and reveal the beauty of the diversity of nature.

We’ll share a few of our favorite species here but follow the link (below) to the BHS website to view all 57.  And the next time you are diving in the area (hopefully soon), see how many you can find.

We love flasherwrasse and there are two endemics in the area.

Parachelinus nursalim (Nursalim Flasherwrasse) Found in Raja Ampat and the Fak Fak/Kaimana/Triton Bay region

Another group of fish with which we are enamored are the dottybacks.  This beauty is named in honor of Dr. Mark Erdmann, whose conservation work in the region is unprecedented.

Pseudochromis erdmanni (Erdmann’s Dottyback) Found in Raja Ampat

There are 3 species of walking sharks, one endemic to each region.

Hemiscyllium henryi (Triton Epaulette shark) Found in Fak Fak/Kaimana/Triton Bay and named in honor of Wolcott Henry, who was awarded the NOGI for his conservation work.

The charismatic Fairy-wrasses are always lovely to behold!

Cirrhilabrus cenderawasih (Cenderawaish Fairy-wrasse) Found in Cenderawasih Bay

Many species were named in honor of resort owners, scientists, and governmental officials whose conservation work has been and continues to be essential to the long term sustainability of the region.

Sueviota minersorum (a sponge-dwelling goby named in honor of the Miners family who are the founders of Misool Eco Resort) Found in Raja Ampat

Pseudochromis ammeri (Ammer’s Dottyback named in honor of Max Ammer the founder of Sorido and Kri Eco Resort) Found in Raja Ampat and in the Fak Fak/Kaimana/Triton Bay area

Chrysiptera maurinae (Maurine’s Damselfish named in honor of the c0-administrator of the BHS website and co-author of two guidebooks on the region) Found in Cenderawasih Bay

To view the Gallery of all 57 species click here, Endemics Gallery.


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