New species of fish discovered Found in twilight reefs

Mackenzie Scott, Reporter

The rose-veiled fairy wrasse or the Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa is a new species which was always similar to the red velvet fairy wrasse. This new species was recently identified as it was previously mistaken as the rosy-scales fairy-wrasse.

  The rose-veiled fairy wrasse was recently discovered in what is called twilight reefs or twilight zones. The twilight zone of the “ocean [is], roughly 100-300 feet deep, where light barely penetrates” says the National Ocean Service.

  A local Maldivian researcher recently discovered the rose-veiled fish. Marine research institute biologist Ahmed Najeeb said, “It has always been foreign scientists who have described species found in the Maldives without much involvement from local scientists.” He says its different to have someone local be apart of it and work along people higher up with this species.

  This fish was first collected by researchers in the 1990s. [The rose-veiled] was originally thought to be the adult version of a different species, Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis [rosy-scaled fairy wrasse], which had been described based on a single juvenile specimen from the Chagos Archipelago, an island chain 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of the Maldives” says SciTech daily.

  According to live science the female rose-veiled which colors were mostly red, pink, and blue were very similar to the rosy-scales, but the male rose-veiled were not similar. Live science also says “The researchers also found that [rose-veiled] has a different number of scales in certain body regions and taller dorsal spines than its look-alike cousin. DNA analysis confirmed that these two species were genetically distinct.” During this discovery they also found eight new species.

  The name for this new species comes from the Maldivian language, Dhivehi. The word finifenmaa is supposed to mean rose, which goes along with the fishes’ color and also its relation to the Maldives’ national flower.

  While the discovery of this different species they are believed to be in danger. “However, the researchers suspect that the Maldives’ C. finifenmaa population may be in danger of declining. C. rubrisquamis wrasses have long been targeted by local fishers to be sold for the global aquarium trade, which generates around $330 million each year” says Live Science.

     With this new discovery the species of fairy wrasses has gained a new type as the group has up to 50 scientifically recognized species. Sophomore Sean Babiak says “It’s interesting and I didnt know it existed. Learning about it, it seems pretty interesting.”