Two new fish species have been discovered in waters off Kenting (墾丁), the Kenting National Park Headquarters said yesterday.
A lined dartfish, identified in Taiwan for the first time, was spotted when Chen Cheng-ping (陳正平), an associate researcher at the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute, and Tsai Yung-chun (蔡永春), director of a local underwater photography association, were scuba diving in February.
Lin Ching-che (林清哲), a -National Marine Museum worker, discovered the other new species, the rhinoceros leatherjacket, last month in the same region, which has the nation’s richest marine ecology, including coral reefs.
Both species have been found in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, but they had not previously been seen off Taiwan, said Chen Chen-jung (陳貞蓉), the park’s director.
The previous month, another new species for the Kenting Park area — the yellowback tubelip — was discovered, while in April last year a blackstriped angelfish was spotted, which was also a first for the waters off the 33,269 hectare park.
The tubelip has been previously recorded in the waters around Green Island off eastern Taiwan, while the angelfish has been recorded around Orchid Island and in several other areas, including Dongsha Island and the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, Chen Cheng-ping said.
The numbers of blackstriped angelfish have increased since the species was first spotted in Kenting last year, he added.
To date, more than 1,300 fish species have been discovered in the waters off Kenting, the park’s director said.
She said the discovery of the new species, whether new to Taiwan or just to Kenting, indicates that the area is important for coral reef fish and suggests that more will be discovered as long as the ecology in the area is well-preserved.