scientific article | S Afr J Sci | open access
Heemstra PC, Fricke H, Hissman K, Schauer J, Smale M, Sink K
The deep demersal fish fauna at depths of 100–400 m in canyons off the St Lucia Marine Protected Area along the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal is compared with similar fish communities at the Comoro Islands and in the Indo-Pacific region. Fifty-four fish species were seen or photographed from the submersible Jago or by the discovery team of scuba divers in the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, habitat of the canyons off Sodwana Bay. An additional 94 fish species known from depths of 100–200 m along the coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal are likely to occur in the canyon habitat. The fish fauna of the Sodwana canyons shares at least 18 species with the deep demersal fish community off tropical coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region. Thirty-seven of the Sodwana canyon fishes are also known from the coelacanth habitat in the Comoros.