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Arrecife / Isla de Lobos
Arrecife de Lobos forms part of the northern portion of the Tuxpan Reef System, located 13 km off the coast of Cabo Rojo, East of the Tamiahua Lagoon in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. It is considered to be the largest reef in the system and the only one that has an island, making it the best known reef, since the island has served as base camp for extended expeditions. The island covers an area of 600 by 500 m and is dominated by furrows and channels that fall from the crest to the forereef, while the leeward is characterized by a well-developed coral community. In the 1960s a navigable channel that divides the reef into two areas was built in order to facilitate access to the island. It is 3 m deep and has a length of 1.5 km.
Location on Continental Shelf: Inner-Shelf Bank
Coordinates: 21.34° N 97.17° W
Nearest Largest City: Ciudad Madero, Veracruz, Mexico
Width: 1.1 km
Length: 1.9 km
Maximum Depth: 45 m
The structural base of the Lobos-Tuxpan reefs are made up of stony corals. Thirty-one species of scleractinia are present as well as two hydrocorals species Millepora alcicornis and Stylaster roseus. The community structure is dominated by the families Faviidae and Siderastreidae. In the shallow areas (less than 15 m) there is a strong presence of Montastrea annularis, Colpophyllia natans, Diploria clivosa, and D. strigosa, while in the deep areas, (more than 15 m deep) the notorious species are C. natans, Siderastrea sidereal, and Stephanocoenia intercepta.There is evidence that Acropora palmata formed a barrier in areas located between 3 and 5 m deep, including the leeward, but today only the fronds are concentrated on the south side of each reef. The species A. cervicornis only forms small isolated patches in the leeward, while Mussa Angulosa, Oculina difussa and Scolymia cubensis are relatively more frequent species.
The fauna associated with the reefs are represented by Davidaster rubiginosa, the starfish Linckia guildinguii, Copidaster liman, the sprocket wheels of sea Diadema antillarum, Astropyga magnifica and the abundant Echinometra viridis and E. lucunter. The sponges Spheciospongia vesparium,Ircinia strobilina, Ectyopliasia ferox and Aplysia fulva with the most common being Cliona delitrix.
Molluscs are represented by Xancus angulatus, Strombus pugilis,Cipraea cebra and Cassis flamea. The octopus Octopus vulgaris is common in all the areas of the reefs, but it is especially frequent in the terrace. There are about 25 species of molluscs in the reefs, from which Cassis madagascarensis is the rarest.
The crustaceans are among the most diverse and abundant organisms in the reefs. In the Lobos-Tuxpan system the Mitrax forceps, Stenopus hispidus, and Stenorhynchus seticornis
are present, and among the most important species is Panulirus argus.
In coral reef environments a great part of the fish species are rare but typical of these ecosystems. In this group there are some that like Epinephels adscensionis that is present on every zone associated with rocks or corals.
Tunnell, J.W. Jr. 2007. Reef Distribution (chapter 2). In Tunnell, J.W. Jr., Chavez, E.O. and Withers, K. (eds) Coral Reefs of the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX, 216 p.
Universidad Veracruzana. 1996. Ecobuceo en la Costa Norveracruzana. Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas y Agropecuarias Grupo de Ecologia Arrecifal.
Universidad Veracruzana. 2003. Documento Tecnico Justificativo para la Creacion de un Area Natural Protegida en el Sistema Arrecifal Lobos-Tuxpan.
Ecobuceo en la Costa Norveracruzana
NOAA Fisheries - National Marine Fisheries Service
Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas
Keywords: Reef, Island, Stony coral, Lobos-Tuxpan Reef System, Sponge, Reef fish
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To cite GulfBase, use: F. Moretzsohn, J.A. Sánchez Chávez, and J.W. Tunnell, Jr., Editors. 2013. GulfBase: Resource Database for Gulf of Mexico Research. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.gulfbase.org, 19 May 2013.
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