Two Endemic Species

What does a Saddle Wrasse have in common with a Hawaiian White-Spotted Toby?  At first glance, they are obviously different in size, shape, and color.  One is a wrasse and one is a pufferfish, can the two really have any similarities?  Well, yes, and it’s more than just one similarity.

Both fish are endemic to Hawai’i, meaning they are found no where else in the world.  Sure, they may have counterparts in other tropical places like the Indo-Pacific and the Eastern Pacific, but the Hawaiian species can only be found in Hawai’i.

This curious duo are also the most populous members of their families.  The Saddle Wrasse is the most common wrasse found on Hawaiian reefs.  It’s difficult to not see one.  And the Hawaiian White-Spotted Toby is the most common pufferfish among Hawaiian reefs.

Now, I’ve saved the best similarity for last.  They even share this similarity with Hawaiian beach goers!  Saddle Wrasses and Hawaiian White-Spotted Tobies both wear sunscreen!  What!?  Yes, they wear sunscreen to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  In fact, these two fish aren’t the only ones on the reef who are taking care of their skin.  Researchers at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa have discovered that 84 percent of the 200 fish that they tested also secrete natural sunscreen (read the full article here).  Their sunscreen, a type of mucus they secrete, is comparable to or better than SPF 15 for humans.  So if you were to take anything away from this little tidbit of information, WEAR SUNSCREEN!  🙂  At least put on some SPF 15, even the fish do it!

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One Response to “Two Endemic Species”

  1. Thanks for the interesting information! I appreciate learning about our ocean and its inhabitants!

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