On July 1st and 2nd, the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) received several reports through the Eyes of the Reef Network and the Oahu Monk Seal Foundation of dead fish washing up on beaches in Waikiki, Ko Olina, and Nanakuli on the island of Oahu.
On July 2nd and 3rd, DAR staff responded to the reports by visiting the sites and visually surveying the Ko Olina and Waikiki area. Several juvenile (2-3 inches) flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis) samples were collected from Waikiki and Koolina for laboratory tests. Mortality events can be caused by a number of factors, including environmental stressors, natural cycles, predation, or disease. Samples from this event are currently being processed by US Geological Survey (USGS) and preliminary laboratory results are expected in 2-3 weeks.
Gurnards are naturally found in sandy environments and feed on invertebrates at night. Adults can grow to over a foot long.
The Eyes of the Reef Network is encouraged to report observations of these fish using the online report forms. Please do not collect samples, these fish have sharp barbs that can cause puncture wounds, do not attempt to touch or handle. Photos are very useful to these reports. If you have photos of your observation, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates about the gurnard reports will appear on the DLNR Reef Response website.
Thank you Eyes of the Reef Network for the helpful reports!