Scientists have described a new species of rainbow fish

(ORDO NEWS) — For many decades, it was believed that the stunning multi-colored wrasses that live in deep-sea reefs near the Maldives are representatives of the same species.

And it is not surprising – they all had a bright rainbow color and, in general, were similar to each other. And only now, scientists have realized that in fact, not one species lives in these territories, but several.

Scientists have mistaken different types of rainbow fish for one for many years. And now they’ve corrected their mistake

The recently described species has been named Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa or the Pink Veiled Fairy Wrasse. Outwardly, it resembles the Red Velvet fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubriscquamis , with which scientists have confused it.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, both species live in the so-called deep-sea “twilight zone” – on mesophotic coral reefs that grow much deeper than most tropical coral reefs (from 30 to 149 meters underwater).

Scientists have described a new species of rainbow fish 2

Why Scientists Wrong

As it turned out, for the first time, scientists encountered a new species back in 1990, but its similarity to Cirrhilabrus rubriscquamis was so great that experts did not recognize the fish as a separate species.

But recently, scientists conducted additional studies, which found an error. The experts caught several C. finifenmaa and compared them to C. rubriquamis wrasses. Surprisingly, female C. finifenmaa (mostly red, pink, and blue) were similar in appearance to female C. rubriquamis. However, the males were very different.

The scales of the males of the new species had more orange and yellow hues, while their dorsal fins were larger than those of the “cousins”. To make sure that scientists were wrong for many years, DNA analysis was carried out, which confirmed that these two species are genetically different.

The researchers also found that the new species , Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa, has a smaller home range, and this puts the survival of the species at risk.

The fact is that many locals love to hunt for bright rainbow fish – they give good money for them in pet stores. In this situation, scientists must figure out how to protect the newly discovered species from extinction.

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