With more than 20,000 miles of marine coastlines and an abundance of freshwater resources, the Philippine archipelago houses an astounding collection of native fish. The many islands, reefs, and the Philippines continental plate provide habitat to many fish species both endemic and native. The Speckled goby fish finds a home in the marine, brackish, and fresh waters found along the country’s coastline. The mouth-brooding endemic fish species Manila Sea Catfish has lived for many years in the Luzon Island. Another native fish species in the Philippines is the sole species of Chanos chanos belonging to the Chanidae Family. These species and others like the colorful, picturesque dragonet have found refuge and a home in the Philippines.
Speckled Goby (Redigobius bikolanus)
Redigobius bikolanus, commonly known as the speckled goby, is a goby fish species native to the brackish and fresh marine waters off of the Philippines' coast. The species habitual ranges extend along the shores of Asia to Australia, then to the Pacific islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and finally to the coasts of Seychelles and South Africa. The Speckled goby inhabits estuaries, streams, and creeks. Often, they inhabit the tidal zones of rivers. It lives in a depth range of 0 to 5 meters where temperatures range from 21 Degrees Celsius to 28 Degrees Celsius.
Bangus Milkfish (Chanos chanos)
Chanos chanos, commonly known as the Milkfish, is the only living species of Chanidae Family, with more than five extinct genera from that family belonging to the Cretaceous Period of long ago. In the Philippines, the locals call the fish bangus, and it is the national fish. Chanos chanos has a broad distribution range from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, then to South Africa, the Galapagos, California, Hawaii, and Marquesas. The Milkfish species prefer to live in the tropical offshore marine waters and along continental shelves. A habitual range is usually 1 to 30 meters. They also frequent estuaries and rivers.
Manila Sea Catfish (Arius manillensis)
Arius manillensis, commonly known as the Manila Sea Catfish, is an endemic marine fish found off of the coast of Luzon Island in the Philippines. The species habitual range extends from Manila, Laguna, Bataan, Rozal, and Cavite, and the Laguna de Bay, and Pasing River. It prefers to live in the brackish, marine, and freshwater waters and also Benthopelagic habitats.
Picturesque Dragonet (Synchiropus picturatus)
Synchiropus picturatus, commonly known as the picturesque dragonet, is a brightly colored fish of the Dragonet Family. Synchiropus picturatus is native to the Philippines, northwest Australia, and eastern Indonesia. Picturesque dragonet has thick slime on its body which harbors many parasitic infections. The slime protects from disease following physical trauma and stress. The adaptive feature also protects it from more aggressive fishes.
Marine Conservation in the Philippines
The Philippine archipelago provides ample sources of small invertebrates which become food for these and many other native fish species. The extensive coastlines of marine, brackish, and freshwater rivers and streams emptying into the sea provide ideal habitats for spawning, maturing, and feeding. However, the ongoing developments in the country may pose a threat to the coastline ecosystem. Habitat destruction resulting from the damaged coast is a key risk. The country ought to focus on maintaining and protecting the coastline least these native species lose their homes.