Researching a Newly Acquired Fish Collection from Long Island
In 2014, the State Museum acquired Dr. Howard Reisman's (emeritus professor at Long Island University) personal collection of fish specimens. The collection has over 2,500 individual specimens, including a substantial number of samples from the marine waters surrounding Long Island.
While identifying and accessioning these specimens, museum scientists discovered that the collection contained representatives of several marine species that had not been recorded in earlier lists of New York marine fishes. These included a species of trunkfish (Lactophrys bicaudalis) that has not previously been found north of Florida as well as a frogfish (Antennarius striatus) whose northernmost range was considered to be southern New Jersey.
Due to the proximity of Long Island to the Gulf Stream, which acts as a conveyor belt for warmer water from southern areas, the bays along the island's southern coast often entrap stray tropical fish larvae that continue their development during warm weather months and die off in the winter. As average yearly temperatures continue to increase, some of these transient species may become permanent fixtures of the fish communities in these bays, although conclusive evidence for this has yet to be obtained and continued monitoring is needed.
An article by Dr. Jeremy Wright, the Museum's curator of ichthyology, and colleagues detailing novel New York species records from the Reisman Collection is in press at the peer-reviewed journal "Northeastern Naturalist" and will be published later in 2016