Reef-associated fishes from the offshore reefs of western Campeche Bank, Mexico, with a discussion of mangroves and seagrass beds as nursery habitats

Robertson DR - Dominguez-Dominguez O - Lopez-Arollo YM  - Moreno-Mendoza R - Simoes N.

A series of small emergent coral reefs and shallow, submerged coralliferous banks are scattered along the western edge of Campeche Bank (southwest Gulf of Mexico), 150-200 km offshore from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico.

 

Here a reasonably comprehensive, annotated checklist of reef-associated fishes for one reef, Cayo Arcas (expanded from 162 to 209 species) is presented, with preliminary checklists of such fishes from three other emergent reefs (Cayo Arenas, Triángulo Oeste, Triángulo Este) and four submerged bank reefs (Banco Obispo Norte, Banco Obispo Sur, Banco Nuevo and Banco Pera). During 2017-18 a total of 260 species was observed or collected from those reefs, and previous studies and georeferenced museum records in the global aggregator Fishnet2 added another 101 shallow-living species recorded on or adjacent to those reefs.

 

Some coral-reef fishes are thought to be strongly dependent on seagrass and mangrove areas as nursery habitats for maintenance of their local populations on reefs near to those habitats. The abundance of a number of such nursery" species on these Campeche reefs indicates otherwise, as there are no seagrass- or mangrove habitats for reef fishes within ~ 150 km of the study reefs. Other isolated Caribbean-area reefs that lack mangroves and, in some cases, seagrasses, also support many such nursery species of reef-fishes."

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