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James Cook University Townsville
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Toughing it out in the Red Sea

24
Oct 2018
Peter Cowman

Posted By

Peter Cowman

Butterflyfishes are iconic reef residents. They are intrinsically linked to coral reef ecosystems, which provide a source of not only shelter, but sustenance.

New international research sheds light on the evolutionary history of the butterflyfish and its emergence as one of the most locally diverse species of reef fish in the Red Sea.

Straddled between the African and Asian continents, the Red Sea is a hotspot for life that is unique to its own waters (also known as ‘endemic species’). Despite harsh conditions and radical shifts in sea level over geological time scales, butterflyfishes have persevered, evolving as approximately 14 endemic species. Though, how they did this is still unclear, the findings of this study provide significant insight into the evolutionary history of butterflyfishes.

Read full blog by senior author Joseph DiBattista, here.

Paper available here

A small school of raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula), so named for the black and white bands over the face and eyes resembling a
A small school of raccoon butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula), so named for the black and white bands over the face and eyes resembling a "raccoon" mask. The closest relative of this widespread species is a regional endemic restricted to the Red Sea and adjacent Gulf of Aden, Chaetodon fasciatus. Photo location: Fakarava, French Polynesia. Credit: Tane Sinclair-Taylor

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au