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A species discovered: second of two-parts on the unknown life in the seas.

Just before Labor Day, Sept. 3,1974, a geologist threw a pipe dredge off the deck of the research vessel Gosnold. The ship was off Sebastian Inlet in 180 to 240 feet of water. Down at the bottom sat a small, colorful orange bellied goby with black margins on its fins and dark green bars along its sides. The pipe landed on him, capturing him with the sand he sat on. The gist could have thrown him overboard, but decided to bring him back to me. It turned out to be a new fish species.

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Since I would not have been an ichthyologist if it were not for the patience and support of my beautiful wife, I named the fish after her, Varicusmarilynae, a name by which it will be known, hopefully, forever. The common name is the orange bellied goby.

This was the first of several new fish species that would be described from east Florida waters over the next two decades including the blackbar drum, jawfish, masked stargazer, and reticulate stargazer. In the same period, a host of invertebrates, animals without backbones, were also being described. Even a new species of seagrass was described during this same time, Johnson's seagrass.

New species of aquatic organisms are still being discovered and named from Florida waters. A new shell-less snail, known as a nudibranch, Chromodoris fentoni, was just described by FWC biologists Nancy Sheridan and Joan Herrera, from a specimen collected by Daniel Fenton of Brandon, Florida. The new species was collected with sponges taken in the Gulf of Mexico off Tarpon Springs. You can also see that if you capture a new species and turn it over to the experts, they may even name it after you.

By R. Grant Gilmore, Ph.D.

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Title Annotation:The Sportsman's Biologist
Author:Gilmore, R. Grant
Publication:Florida Sportsman
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Feb 1, 2012
Words:296
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