Distribution of Chaetodon wiebeli a common ornamental fish in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park

Authors

  • Ploypailin Rangseethampanya Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Ramkhamhaeng University Marine Biodiversity Research Group Department of Biology, Faculty of Science Ramkhamhaeng University

Keywords:

reef fish, butterflyfish, gulf of thailand, tourism

Abstract

Coral reef-based activities are an important part of the tourism industry. Mu Ko Chumphon National Park is one of the most famous ecotourism destinations in the Western Gulf of Thailand, coupled with high coral and fish diversity. The blackcap butterflyfish, Chaetodon wiebeli is a common sight in the area, and due to their striking coloration, this fish is very attractive to SCUBA divers and snorkeling. The present study aimed to investigate the occurrence of C. wiebeli in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park. Underwater Visual Census was used to assess the abundance of C. wiebeli during 2018-2020 in 2 pinnacles, Hin Lak Ngam and Hin Phae; and 10 islands: Ko Kalok, Ko Kula, Ko Rang Kachiu, Ko Lawa, Ko Maphrao, Ko Mattra, Ko Ngam Noi, Ko Ngam Yai, Ko Talu, and Ko Raed. The results showed that C. wiebeli can be found in most of all sites except for Ko Kula, in addition the species displays high fidelity, occurring in consecutive years for all sites with recurrent surveys, except for Ko Maphrao. The highest frequencies of occurrence include Hin Phae, Ko Kalok, Ko Rang Kachiu, Ko Lawa, Ko Ngam Yai, Ko Talu and Ko Raed, varying from 45% to 100% of occurrence, while the highest abundance was found at Hin Lak Ngam, Hin Phae, Ko Kalok and Ko Talu, varying from 6 to 9 individuals/100m2. Our results indicated a consistent presence of C. wiebeli at most sites in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park, raising its ecotourism potential due to the contemplation value of the species. In special, Hin Phae, Ko Kalok, Ko Rang Kachiu, Ko Lawa and Ko Talu present the highest opportunities for tourists to encounter the species.

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Published

2021-12-31

Issue

Section

Original Articles