A Mimic lemonpeel surgeonfish has been discovered swimming in the waters of Florida.
Acanthurus pyroferus is native to the Indo-Pacific and is the first of its kind documented in Florida.
It was spotted by divers in Palm Beach who realised the fish probably didn't belong there. They reported it to Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), which is a non-profit organisation that seeks to conserve marine ecosystems with the help of divers and marine enthusiasts.
The 10cm/4in fish was subsequently captured alive and transported to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada where it will be displayed to educate the public on the hazards of invasive species.
REEF's director of special projects, Lad Akins, told the Miami Herald: "Some people might say, 'Oh big deal, we took this little fish out of the water.' But that’s the way the lionfish got started. If only we could have taken the first few lionfish out of the water in the first place. We’re relying on divers, snorkelers and fishermen to be our eyes and ears on the water. It’s a perfect example of how early detection and rapid removal can be successful in stemming an invasion."
These fish are indigenous to Indonesia, so either it's been on a very long swim, or someone has released it "back to the wild" while closing down their tank.
Luckily for it, there are Tangs off the coast of Florida and plenty down into the warmer Caribbean sea, so it is a suitable environment for it, food wise, etc. It's been captured now, but if it was a lone Tang, it's not going to colonise those waters.
I don't understand this Lad's issue to be honest...
There are already Tangs, so if stripping any greenery away is the concern, Tangs are doing that already. He mentions the predatory Lionfish invasion, but that's a different kettle of fish altogether really isn't it.