Sun. May 19th, 2024

World’s New Fish Species was First Spotted in a Bohol Public Market

A new species of razor wrasse fish has been discovered by scientists in the Philippines, but its first sighting was not in the ocean, but in a public market in Bohol⁴. The fish, which has been named Cirrhilabrus marinda, or the Marinda fairy wrasse, was initially bought by a local fisherman who noticed its unusual appearance and colors.

The fisherman contacted Dr. Mark Erdmann, a marine biologist and vice president of Conservation International’s Asia-Pacific marine programs, who was visiting Bohol at the time. Erdmann recognized the fish as a potential new species and contacted his colleague Dr. Luiz Rocha, a curator of ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences.

Rocha and his team traveled to Bohol to collect more specimens of the fish from the fisherman’s supplier, who caught them from deep reefs at around 60 meters (197 feet) depth. They also conducted underwater surveys using rebreathers, which allow divers to explore deeper and longer than conventional scuba gear.

The researchers confirmed that the fish was indeed a new species, and described it in a paper published in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. They named it after Marinda Garden, a resort in Bohol where they stayed during their expedition.

The Marinda fairy wrasse is a small fish, measuring about 5 centimeters (2 inches) long, with a slender body and a pointed snout. It has a striking color pattern, with a bright yellow head, a pinkish-orange body, and a blue tail. The males have a distinctive black spot on their dorsal fin.

The fish belongs to the genus Cirrhilabrus, which comprises more than 60 species of fairy wrasses that are widely distributed in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Fairy wrasses are known for their vibrant colors and complex social behaviors.

The Marinda fairy wrasse is the second new species of fairy wrasse discovered by Rocha and his team in recent years. In 2022, they described the rose-veiled fairy wrasse (Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa), which they found in the Maldives⁵. Rocha said he was fascinated by the diversity and beauty of these fish, and hoped that their discovery would raise awareness and appreciation for the deep coral reefs that harbor them.

\”These reefs are home to many amazing creatures that we are only beginning to understand,\” Rocha said in a statement. \”They are also under threat from climate change, overfishing, and pollution, so we need to protect them before we lose them.\”

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