Scuba Diver Discovers Airplane and Haven for Lionfish

Randy Jordan, owner of Emerald Charters in Jupiter, Florida, discovered quite a treasure on a recent dive.

“We get down to the bottom and I see some fish that are swimming over to the right and I followed them,” said Jordan.  “They swam right up to this airplane. It was the most amazing thing.”  Right in front of them, Jordan said, were the remains of an aircraft.  “When you backed up, you said ‘that’s an airplane,’ ” he said…Jordan sent his images to the Warbird Information Exchange , an online source for historical aviation information.  Experts there told Jordan that the submerged aircraft could be a Curtiss Helldiver SBC2.  Some of those airplanes flew in the early 1940s during World War II.

Now that you watched the video once. Watch it again, but this time take notice of tremendous numbers of lionfish.  Note lionfish are native to the waters of the Indo-Pacific.  Over the last two decades they have invaded the eastern U.S. Coast and the Caribbean. I have personally witnessed them on dives from North Carolina to Belize.  The when, where, and how of this lionfish invasion remains somewhat of a mystery. Lore based on second knowledge has it placed to the Florida coast when in 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed an aquarium.  Later that year, six lionfish were potentially accidentally released in Biscayne Bay. But NOAA ecologist James Morris found documentation of them off the Florida coast in 1985, most likely dumped by an owner who had lost interest. Earlier this year, I edited a paper for the Journal of Biogeography by Ricardo and colleagues examining the genetics of invasive lionfish.  Their paper adds another piece to the overall puzzle suggesting that DNA evidence ties the expansion of lionfish throughout the Caribbean to a single invasion event as opposed to multiple introductions.

The video above is extremely alarming for the density for lionfish at a single location.  Hat tip to Aeolius for a link to the video and article.  Put your total counts of lionfish in the video below.


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