Long Island Collecting Log: An abundance of butterflies

Todd GardnerBy Todd Gardner 4 years ago
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For me, one of the most interesting things about the appearance of the tropical strays on Long Island, is the sheer abundance of some of the species. The spotfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon ocellatus is a great example. I have lived in the Caribbean and I’ve spent a fair amount of time diving on Florida’s reefs. Although I probably encountered spotfin butterflies on the majority of dives within their native range, It was uncommon for me to see more than one or two at a time, and on any given dive, the total number rarely, if ever, got out of the single digits.While diving in New York however, 10 or more spotfins in your field of view at any time is a regular occurrence, especially late in the season. I often wonder what role this annual temporary influx of non-native fishes might play in our local ecology. If you’d like to hear more on this topic, I’ll be giving a presentation at MACNA in September, where I’ll discuss questions like this, as well as techniques for catching and caring for these expatriates from the tropics. 

Categories:
  Eye Candy, Fish, MACNA, Science, Sustainability
Todd Gardner
About

 Todd Gardner

  (71 articles)

Todd Gardner is a professor of marine biology at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead, NY. His life and his career have both been shaped by his passion for marine life and he has written numerous scientific and popular articles about his research and experiences collecting, keeping, and culturing marine organisms. Todd’s professional background includes work on a National Geographic documentary, commercial aquaculture at C-quest Hatchery in Puerto Rico, and an 11-year term at the Long Island Aquarium where he spent much of his time developing techniques for rearing marine fish larvae. To date he has raised more than 50 species. In 2013 Todd received the prestigious Aquarist of the Year Award from the Marine Aquarium Society of North America (MASNA). In his spare time, Todd dives, photographs marine life, runs marathons, and plays in a blues band.

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