At the end of the August, ten REEF citizen scientists traveled to Little Corn Island, a tiny, remote stretch of land in the Caribbean, located about 75 miles northeast of mainland Nicaragua. This goal of this Field Survey Trip was to collect and report data about the fish populations in this infrequently dived and visited area. There is very little data available about the marine life inhabiting Little Corn Island, and our volunteer divers were excited to find many interesting species, color variations and range extensions in the area. One particularly exciting find was the Moth Blenny (Ekemblemaria nigra), which had previously only been reported from the Caribbean coast of Central and South America. Volunteers also photographed a potentially undescribed Goby, likely a member of the Elacatinus genus. This species is similar to the Yellowprow Goby (Elacatinus xanthiprora), with minor differences in appearance and behavior that the trained citizen scientists were able to recognize as a result of their participation with REEF’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project. The group was also delighted to find multiple Golden Hamlets (Hypoplectrus gummigutta) on several of their dives!
REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project is a critical global database that can be used to better understand and hopefully mitigate threats to the ocean. Joining a REEF Field Survey Trip is an excellent way to become engaged in marine conservation and make a difference on your dives. For more information about upcoming REEF Trips, visit www.REEF.org/trips.