There's a new fish in the pond

credit: Yi-Kai Tea/California Academy of Sciences

The Rose-Veiled Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa) was officially declared a newly discovered species thanks to the work of a Maldivian scientist this month. The species initially fell foul of mistaken identity as Elizabeth Gamillo explained for Smithsonian Mag:

While hundreds of species thrive in the waters surrounding the Maldives, this fairy wrasse is the first to be described by a Maldivian scientist, and it is also the first species with a scientific name derived from the local Dhivehi language, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN. Before being formally described, the fish was long mistaken as a red velvet fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis). Scientists published details about the vivid ocean dweller earlier this month in the journal ZooKeys.

Marine biologists first collected the colorful fish in the 1990s. However, it was not scientifically described because researchers thought it was an adult version of an existing species, a California Academy of Sciences statement explains. C. rubrisquamis’s description was based on one juvenile specimen collected in the Chagos Archipelago, located 621 miles south of the Maldives, per a statement. 

via The Smithsonian

And there could be more new species to come. Finally, some good nature news!

Fish related: flying fish doing what they do best, how a clownfish earns their stripes, and the ‘vantafish’ that absorbs nearly all light that hits it

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