Today at 9 a.m. we were already at the sampling site. Since yesterday’s submersion was so appealing, we returned to the same spot, to the SE of Isla de Lobos.
In general, considering the different dives we have already done off the eastern coasts, we have seen a pattern that more or less repeats itself:
In the deepest area, between 350 and 200 meters, on a muddy bottom we found black coral (Antipathes dichotoma, Leiopathes glaberrima, Parantipathes larix, Stichopathes sp.), crystal sponges and some offshore rockfish (Pontinus kuhlii) and Cuvier’s berycid fish (Beryx decadactylus).
After that, and up to depths of 90-100 meters, some rocks and stone slabs like an oasis appeared on the muddy bottom where a large wealth of species is concentrated. The rocks are colonized by numerous small coral (Coenosmilia fecunda), sea fans (Elisella parapleuxauroides) and black coral (Stichopathes sp.). On the rocks, there was a mix of swallowtail sea perch (Anthias anthias), parrot sea perch (Callanthias ruber) and blacktail comber (Serranus atricauda).
Below 80 meters, we saw vast fields of garden eels (Heteroconger longissimus). In this area, the parrot sea perch disappeared, whereas the swallowtail sea perch and the blacktail comber remained. These fish mingled with bogue (Boops boops), barred hogfish (Bodianus scrofa) and stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca). At this depth, the black coral that cover small, dispersed rocks give way to a different species, Antipathella wollastoni.