Canary Islands: Video
This gorgonian, often observed in small groups, occurs off Punta de Teno (Tenerife) between 225 and 310 meters depth, forming extensive forests, as seen in the image. These dense formations create a habitat that provides shelter for many fish species and promotes the development of interesting biological communities.
The bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus) usually lives associated to seamounts, like the one in the video, which was found on Echo seamount (in the Sahara bank), although this species was also observed north of El Hierro. During samplings carried out with the ROV in the Mediterranean, Oceana also observed this species associated to seamounts like Enareta (Italy) and Seco de Palos (Spain).
The pink frogmouth (Chaunax pictus) was documented on the deep bottoms around almost all the islands, moving or “walking” with its pectoral fins on the sea beds.
Bogues (Boops boops) always form large schools. They are present around the entire archipelago, in the shallower parts of the water column. Oceana documented many schools of bogues during the expedition, from the surface and as far down as 200 meters.
The abundance and diversity of black corals in the Canary Islands is impressive. The species in the video, Antipathella wollastoni, forms dense forests between 25 and 120 meters deep. These forests form habitats of great importance because they provide shelter for a variety of species, including many fish.
Some crustacean families were not identified until recently. In the case of the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), this species was only recently included as part of the fauna of the Canary Islands. During the expedition, Oceana only identified Norway lobsters off La Herradura, west of Fuerteventura.
Glass sponges (Asconema setubalense) or chamber sponges form extensive fields covering deep rocky bottoms, normally over 400 meters depth, in many areas around the islands. Some of these sponges grow to incredible sizes, reaching over 1 meter in height.
Oceana identified the common skate (Dipturus batis), also known as the Norwegian skate, only once during the expedition, on the bottoms of Amanay bank, southeast of Fuerteventura. This species is critically endangered and its conservation depends on the development of specific and urgent measures focused on its protection.
The rosy dory (Cyttopsis rosea) was identified at various times during the expedition, both around the islands and on Echo bank, the seamounts located 150 nautical miles southeast of El Hierro. We should point out that this species usually occurs on bathyal or deep sea beds, between 450 and 600 meters deep.