Ever wonder why we happily travel so far (and pay so much more) to see the likes of mandarin fishes, beautiful soft corals and giant clams in the South Pacific. The Caribbean is a terrific place to dive, and, for those of us on the U.S. east coast, much more convenient and less expensive to get to.
But the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, and, for that matter, the Red Sea, have many more exotic specimens of many more species of every kind of marine life – so many that they often only have scientific names like Amphiprion penderaion and not yet common ones, unlike like pink anemonefish, which is, in this case, what A.penderaion is.
The answer lies in the Earth’s geohistory, how the drift of tectonic plates ended the ability for species to migrate between the Atlantic and Pacific basins millions of year ago, and how the great ice age that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere as late as 18,000 years ago caused the extinction of many more species in the Atlantic/Caribbean than in the Indo-Pacific.
The result is the Triangle of Diversity, a region encompassing Indonesia and the Philippines – and zillions of mandarinfishes, sweetlipsfishes, foxface rabbitfishes and, well, zillions of everything.
It’s all discussed in the post “The Far Side of the World: Geohistory and the Triangle of Diversity.”
Ralph Fuller, Publisher