Biodiversity

Common coral reef fishes of the Cayman Islands

July 29, 2012, 11:34 pm
Content Cover Image

Blue tang surgeonfish (Acanthurus coeruleus). Source: J.E. Randall

The Cayman Islands are a group of three islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica.  Over 395 species of fishes have been recorded in Reef Fish Surveys in the Cayman Islands.

25 most common species in the Cayman Islands

The following ranking is based on the results of 5008 REEF Fish Surveys covering a bottom time of 5,489 hours and 43 minutes. (REEF Geographic Zone Report.  May 28, 2009). 

The species are ranked by the percentage of surveys in which a species was observed.  Abundance of fishes in REEF Fish Surveys are estimated using the following categories:

1- single =1 individual,
2-few = 2- 10 individuals,
3-many = 11-100 individuals, and
4-abundant > 100 individuals. 

The mean numeric abundance (ranging from 1 - 4) was calculated for each species.

The mean abundance category is determined as follows: mean abundance category 0 - 1.49 = single, 1.50 - 1.99 = single-few, 2.0 - 2.49 = few, 2.5 - 2.99 = few-many, 3.0 - 3.49 = many, 3.5 -3.99 = many-abundant, and 4.0 = abundant.

caption Blue tang—the most frequently observed reef fish in the Cayman Islands. ''Reef Fish Identification'', New World Publications © 1994.

 

caption Blue chromis—the reef fish with the highest mean adundance in the Cayman Islands. ''Reef Fish Identification'', New World Publications © 1994.

 

Species

% of surveys observed

Mean abundance category

 1. Blue tang

 90.7

 few-many

 2. Blue chromis 

 89.5

 many-abundant

 3. Stopolight parrotfish 

 89.0

 few-many

 4. Bluehead

 87.2

 many

 5. Foureye butterflyfish

 86.5

 many-abundant

 6. Fairy basslet    

 86.1

 few

 7. Bicolor damselfish 

 85.8

 many

 8. Bar jack  

 79.7

 few

 9. Yellowtail snapper 

 78.9

 few-many

 10. Brown chromis 

 78.6

 many-abundant

 11. Schoolmaster  

 76.5

 few-many

 12. Black durgon 

 76.2

 few-many

 13. Yellowhead wrasse  

 75.0

 few-many

 14. French grunt

 74.4

 few

 15. Graysby

 73.5

 few

 16. Princess parrotfish

 72.3

 few-many

 17. Rock beauty

 69.8

 single-few

 18. Creole wrasse

 69.4

 many-abundant

 19. Redband parrotfish  

 68.6

 few-many

 20.  Sharpnose puffer  

 66.2

 few

 21.  Striped parrotfish 

 65.7

 few-many

 22.  Banded butterflyfish

 63.0

 single-few

 23. Ocean surgeonfish

 62.5

 few

 24. Yellow goatfish  

 61.6

 few

 25.  Longspine squirrelfish 

 61.3

 few

Islands of the Cayman Islands

References and Further Reading

Glossary

Citation

McGinley, M. (2012). Common coral reef fishes of the Cayman Islands. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/151385

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