Coastal marine fishes of São Tomé Island (Gulf of Guinea)
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Since the early works of Balthazar Osório, at the turn of the century, only few papers have been published on the ichthyofauna of São Tomé island. The papers dealing with these fishes were compilations of previous works or the results of a few scientific expeditions (e.g. "Galathea" and "Calypso"). In this paper, we present the results of several surveys carried out from the island over the last decade, together with an annotated revision of the known bibliography for the area. The result is an inventory of the coastal fish of São Tomé island. Our records (124 species belonging to 59 families) are based on fish captured, photographed or observed whilst diving and also on those landed by local artisanal fishermen. In this paper we report a total of 185 confirmed coastal species and 67 families. Twenty-seven of these are reported for the first time for the area, and three other unidentified species may represent new species to science. The best represented families are Carangidae (14 species), Serranidae (11 species), Gobiidae and Scombridae (8 species each). Despite its proximity to the African Continent, it is clear that these islands harbour a particular fish fauna, including several amphiatlantic species, which, in the eastern Atlantic, occur only around oceanic islands (e.g., Epinephelus ascencionis, Paranthias furcifer, Mulloidychtis martinicus, Bodianus pulchellus, Chromis multilineata, Gnatholepis thomsoni, Melychthis niger). The coastal ichthyodiversity of São Tomé is apparently poorer than that of the adjacent coasts, showing a significant influence of the islands further west, St. Helena and Ascencion.