Annotated checklist of the fishes of Wake Atoll
Phillip S. Lobel1 and Lisa M. Kerr2
1Boston University Marine Program, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543
2University of Massachusetts, Biology Department, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125
Wake Atoll has been a US military base since before WWII and it has had ongoing and active DoD programs since that time. However, a comprehensive survey of the marine aquatic resources had not yet been conducted. This project was to research all past scientific studies and to organize these into a coherent summary. We also conducted comprehensive field surveys of the reef and logon during two field trips, July 1997 and May 1999. A third survey is planned for 2000.
A summary of the findings to date is presented below.
This study lists a total of 309 fishes from 64 families from Wake Atoll, a coral atoll located at 19° ; 17' N 166° 36' E. The first published account of the fishes of Wake listed 106 species in 31 families (Fowler and Ball, 1925). Many of those listed in Fowler and Ball (1925) are synonyms or are doubtful records due to misidentifications or wrong type localities (J. E. Randall, pers. com.). The most recent published account of fishes known from Wake Atoll listed 122 fishes in 33 families (Myers, 1999). Our field surveys added 116 additional species records and included 24 new family records for Wake Atoll.
This paper lists all those found in these previous publications with current nomenclature, species not previously verified or published from the B.P. Bishop Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii) collection and new records found during comprehensive surveys conducted at Wake during July 1997 and May 1999. We discovered a total of 116 new records of fishes from the following families; Rhincodontidae, Albulidae, Moringuidae, Muraenidae (two species), Ophichthidae, Congridae (two species), Bythitidae, Mugilidae, Atherinidae, Exocoetidae (two species), Hemirhamphidae, Holocentridae (three species), Fistularidae, Scorpaenidae (two species), Caracanthidae, Serranidae (five species), Pseudochromidae, Apogonidae (five species), Malacanthidae, Carangidae (three species), Lutjanidae, Mullidae, Pempheridae, Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae, Pomacentridae (three species), Oplegnathidae, Kuhliidae, Kyphosidae, Labridae (12 species), Scaridae (three species), Pinguipedidae, Creedidae, Tripterygidae, Blenniidae (three species), Callionymidae, Gobiidae (ten species), Microdesmidae, Siganidae, Acanthuridae (eight species), Istiophoridae, Bothidae, Balistidae (three species), Monacanthidae (two species), Ostraciidae, and Tetraodontidae (six species). Twenty-one of these families represent new family records for Wake Atoll. Of the 215 fish species observed or collected from Wake by the authors, 116 were new records. Fifty-nine new records were observed in 1997, 36 in 1999 and 24 of the new records were from the Bishop Museum collection.
The fish fauna of Wake is impoverished when compared to the Marshall and Mariana Islands, which is probably due to its isolation and lack of habitats. Wake's fauna is largely comprised of wide ranging western and Indo-Pacific species with a few anti-tropical species that are found at higher latitudes.