Scientists Discover a New Psychedelic Fish Species with Brilliant Rainbow Scales

March 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Yi-Kai Tea, courtesy of California Academy of Sciences, shared with permission

Scientists off the coast of the Maldives uncovered a new fish species that’s a bold pop of color in comparison to its shadowy twilight zone habitat. The aptly named rose-veiled fairy wrasse, or Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa, is a small creature with a bright pink head and bodily scales in shades of yellow and blue. Generally found between 131 and 229 feet below sea level, the rainbow-hued specimen is a striking discovery and the first to be formally classified by a Maldivian researcher.

First encountered in 1990, the species was originally categorized as the adult version of the similar Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis. It wasn’t until scientists from the California Academy of Science’s Hope for Reefs project studied the height of the spines in each fin and the number of scales that they realized that the “multicolor marvel” deserved its own taxonomy. (via Moss & Fog)




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