One of the reasons for digging into the tile fish nest mounds is the hope that we will find either a species new to science or one that has not been found at Ascension Island before. One of our samples was unusual in that, whilst it had the usual pile of maerl balls, these were lying on top of a mound of sand. As we were carefully searching for the last of the critters a snake eel popped its head out of the sand. I was able to quickly grab it and gently ease the foot long eel out of the sand. When it came back to the lab the fin on its back was clearly visible, the small eye indicates that it has poor vision and it was realised that this species not been described from Ascension.
In conversation with Sam Weber, the director of science at the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department, he says that he occasionally sees bits of an eel like this that get washed up on the beach. So fingers crossed we have added a piece of knowledge to the biodiversity of this remote Island.