Why Southeast Asia and Australia’s Coral Reefs Became So Rich in Species Biodiversity is a long game.

Why Southeast Asia and Australia’s Coral Reefs Became So Rich in Species

Biodiversity is a long game.

A school of convict blennies over a reef near Ambon, Indonesia.CreditCreditGeorgette Douwma/Science Source

 

 By Steph Yin

Dive into the coral reefs of Southeast Asia or Australia and you’ll likely spot a wrasse. But which of the hundreds of kinds of wrasses will you see?

These fish can be an inch to more than eight feet in length. They can be skinny like cigars or hefty like footballs. Some are somber-colored; others look like they’re attending a rave. Different species have their own creative feeding strategies: humphead wrasses crush shellfish; tubelip wrasses slurp corals and cleaner wrasses act like carwashes, eating parasites and dead tissue off other sea creatures…