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New Coral and Baby Fish

Image by Gore Fiendus (Jerry Frausto) via Flickr

Copperband Butterfly Fish on Blue by Gore Fiendus (Jerry Frausto) via Flickr

The mere idea of a junior butterfly fish (my first favorite fish of all time) makes me, okay, squeaky with the curse of cuteness. Come on, a tiny butterfly fish? Preferably the kind with the super long white snout? That, that, my friends, is a darned cute fish. Apparently, the little guys are interspersed with junior parrot fish out in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. That’s a place I’ll never get to, seeing as how you have to go by boat and seeing as how this Hawaii-lover gets seasick looking at boats. But hey, hardy scientist types head out that way under the auspices of research and they send back happy news of baby fish and never before seen corals.

“The coral reef habitat goes four times deeper than where we’ve been working prior to this,” Kosaki told reporters.

Kosaki’s team, which returned to Oahu on Sunday, used new technology that allows divers to descend deeper than was possible just a few years ago. For example, the juvenile fish nursery was spotted among algae 170 feet deep.

Brian Bowen, a research professor at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, said scientists would need to study whether nurseries like these replenish fish populations in shallow reefs. Answering this question will help those managing coral reefs, he said.

“If you’re dumping trash at 170 feet of water, you might be dumping it on the nursery grounds that keep your fishery going,” Bowen said.

Ahem. No dumping trash on my cute junior fish, okay?

There are more details about the recent findings at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (say that out loud, three times, fast) on this article from the AP. There are also not enough photos, so if you have time, watch this amazing slideshow/movie so you can see what you’re missing.

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