Western Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science

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First inventory of the echinoderms from Juan de Nova (Iles Eparses, France) in the Mozambique Channel, South Western Indian Ocean.

T. Mulochau, C. Conand, S. Stöhr, M. Eléaume, P. Chabanet


Juan de Nova is one of the Iles Eparses, French islands scattered in the Mozambique Channel (Western India Ocean). They have been kept isolated of the anthropogenic influences which makes them rare areas to study biodiversity and provides elements of comparison with areas that are strongly impacted by urbanization and fishing. The program Biorecie (Biodiversity, Resources and Conservation of Eparses Islands) was conducted to complete the inventories of several marine groups including the echinoderms, which had never been assessed in Juan de Nova before. A multidisciplinary team explored the reef slopes of the island by scuba diving down to a depth of 25 metersand the reef flats at low tide collecting specimens and taking photos for identification. The total species richness for echinoderms was 60 with 51 on the reef flats and lagoon, and 22 on the reef slopes. We have sampled 21 species of Holothuroidea, 16 Ophiuroidea, 10 Echinoidea, 7 Asteroidea, and 6 Crinoidea. The commercial species of Holothuroidea, some of which are now classified as endangered on the red list of UICN, like Thelenota ananas and Holothuria nobilis, were common on the reef flats, lagoon and reef slopes of the island, and show the importance of efficiently these sanctuaries of biodiversity.

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