It turns out that you don’t have to equal Dr. Gerald Allen’s 12,000 dives to see most of the fish he’s included in his just-released three-volume set, Reef Fishes of the East Indies, a compilation of 2,631 species from the world’s richest reefs. Just head to Raja Ampat’s Cape Kri, where Dr. Allen recently set a record for the most species he’s ever counted on a single dive: 374 in 90 minutes. “This was one of my most memorable dives because I didn’t have to chase a single species. For 90 minutes, I was mobbed by diver-friendly fish.”
During decades of prepublication genetic research, Allen confirmed that many reef fish are self-seeding, which means that a large percentage of drifting larva return to the general area where they were born. “This is exceedingly important for conservationists and divers,” Allen says. “When reef fish are protected, their numbers increase dramatically.”
Included in the book is a new wrasse called Cirrhilabrus humanni, named by naturalists Ned and Anna DeLoach for marine-life author and photographer Paul Humann.
To order: Reef Fishes of the East Indies, $249, uhpress.hawaii.edu