Freshwater Fishes: a big observation gap


Yeah, if we were electrocuting mammals or anything cute, I’m sure people would riot. But who cares about some dumb fish?

Those do look surprisingly good! I will have to try this too

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I could spend several days hunting down the 15 or so species of fish that occur in my local stream, but one could get perhaps double that in just a few hours at a reef.

You’d have to be swimming around with your eyes closed to see only 30 species in a few hours on a reef! From personal experience, seeing over 100 fish species within an hour is not difficult on a healthy, shallow reef area.

I could spend several days hunting down a rare, data-deficient species, but one could get numerous abundant, widespread, or weedy species in just a few hours. If I was playing a numbers game with species, the choice is clear.

You’ve misunderstood the context of that comment. I was not comparing the merits of observing reef species over freshwater species. In fact, none of my own fish observations have been of reef species. Simply, I was trying to explain that the relative effort of observing each will bias the number of observations towards reef fish over freshwater fish. In other words, you can’t determine if there are more people interested in reef fish compared to freshwater fish based on the number of observations, because if the numbers of observers were the same, you’d still expect far more reef fish observations because the biodiversity of reef fish is more consolidated.

Also, I don’t think it’s accurate to say most reef fish are

Like tropical rainforests, specific reefs have high levels of endemism. Reefs are just more biodiverse per unit of area compared to freshwater areas. Again, I’m not commenting on the merits of one over the other. I certainly think exploring temperate forests is worth my time even though tropical rainforests are more biodiverse per unit area. And there are undoubtedly many reef species that are also rare and/or data-deficient (likewise with the tropics).