The marine fishes of St Eustatius Island, northeastern Caribbean: an annotated, photographic catalog

Sint Eustatius (Statia) is a 21 km2 island situated in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. The most recent published sources of information on that island’s marine fish fauna is in two non-governmental organization reports from 2015–17 related to the formation of a marine reserve. The species-list in the 2017 report was based on field research in 2013–15 using SCUBA diving surveys, shallow “baited underwater video surveys” (BRUVS), and data from fishery surveys and scientific collections over the preceding century. That checklist comprised 304 species of shallow (mostly) and deep-water fishes. In 2017 the Smithsonian Deep Reef Observation Project surveyed deep-reef fishes at Statia using the crewed submersible Curasub. That effort recorded 120 species, including 59 new occurrences records. In March-May 2020, two experienced citizen scientists completed 62 SCUBA dives there and recorded 244 shallow species, 40 of them new records for Statia. The 2017–2020 research effort increased the number of species known from the island by 33.6% to 406. Here we present an updated catalog of that marine fish fauna, including voucher photographs of 280 species recorded there in 2017 and 2020. The Statia reef-fish fauna likely is incompletely documented as it has few small, shallow, cryptobenthic species, which are a major component of the regional fauna. A lack of targeted sampling is probably the major factor explaining that deficit, although a limited range of benthic marine habitats may also be contributing

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