When only a single fish had been sighted, Randolph and Andy Shorten, co-owner of Maluku Divers, kept the find quiet to protect the animal. With more individuals being found, and having a better idea of where to look to find others, the two became comfortable enough to post images on the firm's Web site, see http://www.divingmaluku.com/new-frogfish.
"Seeking out these fish is probably going to be like the Holy Grail of divers for a while," Shorten says. Indeed just do a Google search for "new frogfish Ambon" on the Internet and up pops a lot of dive sites carrying news of the find.
"I don't think it will turn out that there are a lot of these animals but all that scrutiny will help us find out for sure," Shorten says.
For example, 35 years ago nobody realized pygmy seahorses existed but once they were discovered and people understood where to look for them, they turned out to be widespread throughout the ocean.
The fish were seen in 15 feet of water. It's possible the fish could be found at other locations, Pietsch says. All other anglerfish families have ranges broader than a single island group and ocean conditions like those at Ambon are found at various places across Indo-Australian waters.
|Contact: Sandra Hines|
University of Washington