Monday, February 18, 2013

Re-discovering Zakynthos' Dwarf Goby at Lake Keri!

February 17th 2013

Zakynthos is an Ionian Island with a Marine National Park. A unique wetland, Lake Keri, with an area of about 28 ha exists on the Park's coastline near the village of Keri. Sadly the wetland has been trashed by former schemes to drain it and holiday homes line the riparian zone of the former lagoon system. However, one of the many reasons to save the wetland was an unsubstantiated record of an unusual inland waters fish population - a species of dwarf goby. No samples were available from former researches to find the species (and the former collected specimens were never identified or analyzed to reveal the taxonomic status to species level...). So to solve the mystery we needed specimens. My partner and I took the opportunity to investigate the wetland and do some fishing! We caught a total of three Dwarf Gobies - a species in the genus Knipowitschia. These gobies are tiny fish - the largest male we caught is nearly 4 cm!!! The other male is smaller; the female specimen even smaller. The canals are spring-fed and at one point have a lot of freshwater aquatic life; in other parts of the system they are brackish and have very little apparent life. We  spotted Grey-mullets (two species) and the Critically Endangered Eel in the drainage canals around the wetland as well. The area is certainly worthy of conservation meausures - but without knowledge of the biocommunities and their ecology how are we to know what to do next? 

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