WHERE HAVE ALL THESE SPECIES COME FROM?
Marine animals are fundamentally different to their terrestrial counterparts. More often than not, marine creatures have a pelagic larval stage in their life cycle, during which time their babies can float far and wide at the whim of ocean currents. As a result they are distributed across huge distances.
Land-living animals on the other hand are constrained by oceans, mountains, rivers and other physical barriers that they are unable to cross. Even birds can be scared to cross narrow stretches of sea; Wilson’s and red birds of paradise are found only on Waigeo and Batanta Islands in Raja Ampat, despite Salawati being the other side of a strait just a few kilometres wide. As a result of marine creature’s pelagic stage, there are very few barriers to prevent marine animals from reaching even the most remote atolls. Many coral reef fish species are found all the way from the east coast of Africa to the mid Pacific.