Non-Native Regal Damselfish Found In Gulf Of Mexico

By on January 27, 2016
Researchers are concerned nonnative regal damselfish will spread within the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: John E. Randall)

Though they are not harmful, regal damselfish schools living on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico have researchers at Nova Southeastern University concerned. That’s because the fish could potentially harm native damselfish species that live in the Gulf.

The non-native fish species most likely made it into the Gulf thanks to aquarium owners who first bought them as pets but then released them. The fish only reach about 4 inches in length, so they don’t take up too much habitat. The concerns are mostly with how the regal damselfish could find itself interacting with native ones in the area.

The potential harm, scientists say, is that the non-native fish could compete with the others for food. They may very well behave territorially and try to force native damselfish out.

But there is a bright spot: Currents on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico are weak right now, which researchers believe may make it more difficult for the regal damselfish to spread to new areas.

Top image: Researchers are concerned nonnative regal damselfish will spread within the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: John E. Randall)

About Daniel Kelly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *