During your childhood, I’m sure you have read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. Using this book, a number of generations learned the value and the joy of sharing. But, have you ever seen rainbow fish exist outside of literature? If you haven’t, this story is for you. A few weeks ago, a group of Maldivian scientists formally described a new species of fish, publishing their discoveries in ZooKeys. This glamorously-toned species is rainbow-colored, and is called the rose-veiled fairy wrasse or Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa.
As claimed by the researchers, this absolutely magnificent fish resides in the deep waters off the Maldivian coast. Thanks to the striking combinations of colors including, red, orange, yellow, and violet, this species of fish has a flame-like appearance.
The rose-veiled fairy wrasse was initially documented in the 1990s. At first, scientists speculated that this species was the adult version of the red velvet fairy wrasse, scientifically identified as Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis. However, when the two pairs were compared recently, evidence suggested that the rose-veiled fairy wrasse was totally a different species with different DNA. This also highlights the importance of describing new species to conserve and manage biodiversity.
This is also the first time that a Maldivian scientist has formally described an animal species. Ahmed Najeeb, a biologist at Maldives Marine Research Institute stated that till now, whenever a new species is discovered in the Maldives, it has always been foreign scientists. Even if the species is endemic to the Maldives, local scientists weren’t heavily involved. He also revealed his joy and excitement about working alongside top ichthyologists on such a stunning and attractive species.
This research was carried out in collaboration with the Hope for Reefs Initiative of the California Academy of Sciences. So, check out this beautiful species of fish and share your thoughts with us in the comments.