Fish-Watch Project Report November, 2000
As a result of our fish survey work and
the efforts of our member-photographers we have discovered another 18 fish
species not previously known from South Africa:
- The lipspot moray, Gymnothorax
chilospilus Bleeker, 1865; collected at Aliwal Shoal, this moray eel was
previously misidentified as the leopard moray, G.
- Molucca moray, Gymnothorax
moluccensis (Bleeker, 1864); first record for the western Indian Ocean; this
rare moray was previously known from the Western Pacific.
- Banded moray, Gymnothorax rueppelliae (McClelland, 1845); photographed at Sodwana Bay by Rose McGaw.
- Whitespotted snake moray, Uropterygius
alboguttatus Smith, 1962; originally described by J.L.B. Smith from
Assumption Island in the Seychelles, this little moray was previously confused
with a similar species, the yellowtail snake moray, U.
- Java spaghetti eel, Moringua javanica (Kaup, 1856); collected at Aliwal Shoal, previously known from souththern
Mozambique and the Indo-West Pacific region.
- Red pipefish, Festucalex erythraeus (Gilbert, 1905); collected at Aliwal Shoal, previously known from
- Brown banded pipefish, Halicampus
zavorensis Dawson, 1984; collected at Aliwal, previously known from 3
specimens, 1 from Zavora Mozambique and 2 from Oman.
- Ghost pipefish, Solenostomus
paradoxus (Pallas, 1770); previously known from Zanzibar and the Indo-West
- African basslet, Liopropoma africanum Smith, 1954; collected at Aliwal Shoal,previously known from from Inhaca,
Comores, Chagos and western Pacific.
- Pinstriped basslet, Liopropoma susumi (Jordan & Seale, 1906); collected at Aliwal Shoal, previously known from
Comores, Chagos and western Pacific.
- Doubleline cardinalfish, Apogon
fukuii Hayashi, 1990; collected at Aliwal Shoal, previously known from
- Bengal snapper, Lutjanus bengalensis (Bloch, 1790); collected at Sodwana Bay, previously known from Kenya, Mauritius,
Oman to Indonesia.
- Chequered damselfish, Chromis
chrysura (Bliss, 1883); photographed at Leadsman Shoal by Dennis King;
previously known in the Western Indian Ocean only from Mauritius and Réunion;
also reported from the western Pacific.
- Yellowfin damsefish, Chromis leucura Gilbert, 1905; collected at Sodwana and photographed at Leadsman Shoal by Dennis
King; previously known in the Western Indian Ocean only from the Maldives,
Mauritius and Réunion; also recorded from the western-central
- Cheek-bar wrasse, Pteragogus taeniops (Peters, 1855); collected at Aliwal Shoal, previously known from Inhaca,
Mozambique to Zanzibar.
- Scarlet-spotted blenny, Cirripectes stigmaticus Strasburg & Schultz, 1953; photographed
at Sodwana by Dennis King, previously known from Mozambique and the
- Spotty blenny, Laiphognathus
multimaculatus Smith, 1955; previously known from Inhaca to New Guinea and
- Long snout
hawkfish,Cirrhitichthys guichenoti (Sauvage, 1880); collected at
Aliwal Shoal; previously known from only 4 specimens caught at Mauritius and
- Squaretail rabbitfish, Siganus
luridus (Rüppell, 1829); photographed by Dennis King at Aliwal Shoal,
previously known from the Indo-West Pacific region, south to Beira,
In addition to the exciting discoveries
from our fish collecting efforts, we are also learning more about our fish
distributions from the diver-members and underwater photographers who are
playing an active role in the Project. The following species, previously known
from Durban or Sodwana Bay, are now documented from Aliwal Shoal and the
KwaZulu-Natal South Coast:
- Bluespotted stingray, Dasyatis kuhlii (Müller & Henle, 1841); spotted at Aliwal by Roel Jonkman.
- Lattice-tail moray, Gymnothorax
buroensis (Bleeker, 1857); collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Doubleline clingfish, Lepadichthys
lineatus Briggs, 1966; collected at Aliwal.
- Pygmy angler, Antennatus [new
species]; collected at Aliwal.
- Roughridge pipefish, Cosmocampus
banneri (Herald & Randall, 1972); collected at Aliwal.
- Decoy scorpionfish, Iracundus
signifer Jordan & Evermann, 1903; collected at Aliwal.
- Stonefish, Synanceija
verrucosus Bloch & Schneider, 1801; photograph by Piet
- Duskyfin rockcod, Cephalopholis
nigripinnis (Valenciennes, 1828); collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Foursaddle rockcod, Epinephelus
spilotoceps Schultz, 1953; collected at Clansthal.
- Broadstriped cardinalfish, Apogon
angustatus (Smith & Radcliffe, 1911); collected at Aliwal.
- Bluebridle cardinalfish, Apogon
apogonides (Bleeker, 1856); collected at Aliwal.
- Ruby cardinalfish, Apogon coccineus Rüppell, 1838; collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Oddscale cardinalfish, Apogon
evermanni Jordan & Snyder, 1904; collected at Aliwal; previously
photographed at Hibberdene by Dennis King.
- Spur-cheek cardinalfish, Apogon
fraenatus Valenciennes,1832; collected at Aliwal.
- Longnose butterflyfish, Forcipiger
flavissimus Jordan & McGregor, 1896; collected at Aliwal.
- Dusky damselfish, Abudefduf notatus (Day, 1869); collected at Clansthal.
- Twospot hawkfish, Amblycirrhitus
bimacula (Jenkins, 1903);
- Lined tamarin, Anampses lineatus Randall, 1972; collected at Protea Bank.
- Saddleback hogfish, Bodianus
bilunulatus (Lacepède, 1801); collected at Margate.
- Snooty wrasse, Cheilinus oxycephalus Bleeker, 1853; collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Bird wrasse, Gomphosus caeruleus Lacepède, 1801; collected at Aliwal.
- Rainbow wrasse, Halichoeres iridis Randall & Smith, 1982; collected at Aliwal.
- Jewelled wrasse, Halichoeres lapillus Smith, 1947; collected at Aliwal.
- Divided wrasse, Macropharyngodon
bipartitus Smith, 1957; collected at Aliwal.
- Two-spot wrasse, Oxycheilinus
bimaculatus (Valenciennes, 1840); collected at Aliwal.
- Muzzled rockskipper, Cirripectes
castaneus (Valenciennes, 1836); collected at Clansthal.
- Yellow triplefin, Enneapterygius
abeli (Klausewitz, 1960); collected at Aliwal.
- Blotched triplefin, Enneapterygius
ventermaculus Holleman, 1982; collected at Aliwal.
- Twospot goby, Coryphopterus duospilus (Hoese & Reader, 1985); collected at Aliwal.
- Longspine goby, Coryphopterus
longispinus Goren, 1978; collected at Aliwal.
- Greenbubble goby, Eviota prasina (Klunzinger, 1871); collected at Aliwal.
- Goldspot goby, Gnatholepis cauerensis (Bleeker, 1853); collected at Aliwal, and previously reported from Sodwana as
"Gnatholepis sp. 2".
- Locusthead goby, Hetereleotris
tentaculata (Smith, 1958); collected at Aliwal.
- Toothy goby, Pleurosyciia mossambica Smith, 1959; collected at Aliwal.
- Bluebanded surgeon, Acanthurus
lineatus (Linnaeus, 1758); collected at Clansthal.
- Elongate surgeon, Acanthurus mata (Cuvier, 1829); collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Orangestriped triggerfish, Balistapus
undulatus (Mungo Park, 1797); spotted at Aliwal Shoal.
- Threespot flounder, Samariscus
triocellatus Woods, 1966; picked up by John Dives of the KwaZulu-Natal
Nature Conservation Service on our fish collecting dive at Aliwal
- Indian triggerfish, Melichthys
indicus Randall & Klausewitz, 1973; collected at Aliwal
- Spotted toby, Canthigaster
amboinensis (Bleeker, 1865); collected at Aliwal Shoal.
- Starry dragonet, Synchiropus
stellatus Smith, 1963; collected at Protea Banks.
- The rare sandy filefish, Thamnaconus
arenaceus, was caught by novice diver and Rhodes Student Ntobeko Bacela on a
fish collection dive at Aliwal Shoal. Ntobeko’s fish is only the fourth known
specimen of this rare species, and the 2nd specimen to be found in
South African waters. The live colours of the sandy filefish were previously
- Whitespotted electric ray, Narcine sp., this electric ray appears to be new (undescribed); it was recently
photographed north of Durban by Dennis King. It was first recorded from South
Africa by Stefania Lamberti’s photo of a specimen on Protea Banks.
- The blackcap wrasse, Thalassoma genivittatum (Valenciennes, 1839), was previously known
only from Aliwal and the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius & Réunion), but Piet
Strauss recently gave us a photo that he took at Ponta do Ouro,
- The grass klipfish, Pavoclinus
graminis is usually found in weed in tidepools; we collected it at 27 m on
Deep Cracker Reef at Aliwal.
The financial support provided by Sappi to the Project was greatly increased
this year, and this essential funding allows us to develop the fish survey work
and enables the East Coast Fish-Watch Project to produce more benefits to the
members. The Fish-Watch method of using waterproof
worksheets with colour paintings of South African fishes to identify the species
in our area is proving very effective as a teaching and learning strategy to
help divers identify the various species of our diverse fish fauna. Once they
can put a name on a fish, they can then talk about it, learn more about it, and
get to know its habits. This increased knowledge provides a greater awareness
and appreciation of our fascinating fish diversity, makes SCUBA diving more
interesting, and is essential to the understanding and wise use of our fish
resources. Unlike our first three Worksheets, which
were printed on paper and then laminated; our latest Worksheets (Nos. 4, 5, 6
& 7) have been printed directly on pvc plastic by Cardtronic, and this
should provide a more durable Worksheet that will hold up better in the rough
and tumble environment of dive boats, equipment bags and under the