Lionfish aren’t the only invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico.

Since last summer, MBARA Research Divers began tracking progression of the Regal Demoiselle, Neopomacentrus cyanomos, a damselfish normally found in the central Indo Pacific.

It is believed these fish made their way into the Gulf of Mexico on oil rigs that were moved between oceans. They were first observed in the Gulf of Mexico in 2013. Last year, MBARA research divers found the first regal demoiselles reported in our area on some of the deeper reefs, between 80- and 100-feet of water. Since then, the numbers have increased and they have been found as shallow as 24 feet.

The impact of this new invasive is not currently known. They will probably compete with local damselfish, such as cocoa damselfish and purple reeffish. MBARA shares their findings with marine biologists studying the progression of this new invasion.