Quantcast
Science
2017 wasn't all bad. We got to know some fascinating fish, like this magma fairy wrasse. B. P. Shutman

7 Amazing New Fish Species Discovered in 2017

By Amy McDermott

If you think 2017 was a garbage fire, we can't stop you. But the world wasn't the only thing in flames. You know what else was on fire this year? Fish discovery.


Last year, we brought you six of our favorite fish discovered in 2016. This year, we're upping the ante. Meet seven of our newly-minted favorites, discovered in 2017.

1. Snailfish of the Deep (Pseudoliparis Swirei)

Plunge into the Mariana Trench, and you'll find a ghostly snailfish cruising along the seabed, nearly 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) deep. It lives in crushing pressure and darkness, as one of the deepest-living fish ever collected.

Scientists found 37 of the pinkish, translucent, blobby-looking critters using abaited traps with attached video cameras. The snailfish's body is so pale that its liver, stomach and innards are visible through the skin. Other snailfish species have been found in trenches around the world

Just how deep does the new snailfish live? Well, from sidewalk to sky, the Empire State Building is 443 meters (1,450 feet) high. You'd have to stack 18 below the surface to reach snailfish territory. It's a bit deep. Your odds of stepping on one while frolicking at the beach are, luckily, very low.

2. Kaguya's Dartfish: A Fairy Tale Goby (Navigobius Kaguya)

This fish is fit for a fairy tale.S.K. Tea

Called Kaguyahime-haze in Japanese, this gorgeous goby is named for the Moon Princess Kaguya, the central character in an ancient Japanese folktale. The name is an allusion to the moon-like spots on the fish's dorsal fin, and its discovery on reefs in Japan, as well as in the Philippines.

The new goby looks a lot like another (as-yet-unnamed) species from Bali and the Maldives. Its head and body are orange to pink or yellow-grey, with purple stripes that sometimes become spots. Divers have spotted this species before and snapped photos of it. It's also sometimes caught for home aquariums. But it hadn't been named and described until November. Formal description in a scientific paper is how new species are technically "discovered" in science.

If the world got you down this year, just take a deep breath and remember Kaguya's dartfish: the lovely new goby named after a moon princess.

3. Magma Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus Shutmani)

The magma fairy wrasse likes it hot.B.P. Shutman

If we're talking fairy tales, we can't skip the magma fairy wrasse. Scientists sampled four spritely specimens from the underwater rubble slopes of the active Didicas Volcano in the Philippines' Babuyan Islands, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

This fish is truly volcanic. The magma-red colors of its body and fins set it apart from other, closely-related wrasses.

4. Korean "Dwarf" Seahorse (Hippocampus Haema)

Good things come in threes.Jin Koo Kim

If princesses and fairies aren't enough, let's throw in more mythical creatures. Hippocampus haema is the most common seahorse in Korea, but is also found in Japan, where it's called "himetatsu," meaning "dwarf seahorse" or "princess seahorse."

The new species is part of a larger group of crowned seahorses, also found in Japan and Korea. This year, scientists examined 182 seahorse specimens from the region, and sorted them into the three species. The crowned seahorse (H. coronatus) and painted seahorse (H. sindonis) had already been discovered and described. But a third, new species, H. haema, shook out of the mix, based on genetic and physical differences from the other two species.

Those other two seahorses also have epic Japanese names. The painted seahorse is "hanatatsu," which translates to flower dragon. And the crowned seahorse is "tatsu-no-otoshigo," or "dragon's bastard child."

5. Deep-Sea Anglerfish (Oneirodes Sanjeevani)

Sure, this anglerfish is ugly, but it probably has a great personality.H. Kumar

Anglerfish are a departure from the whimsy of princesses, fairies, dwarves and dragons. But what they lack in cute and cuddliness, they make up for in peculiarity. A fleshy growth protrudes from anglerfish heads, and acts as a lure for curious prey.

Oneirodes sanjeevani, the new anglerfish, has a short lure and a narrow head. Only one specimen, a female, has ever been seen. She looks like a giant mouth full of sharp teeth, tapering to a tail. The new angler was discovered in the Western Indian Ocean, between 380 and 600 meters (1,250 and 1,970 feet) deep.

Rows of imposing teeth, and horn-like protrusions from her head, make this critter look downright ghoulish. Luckily, she's only a few centimeters long.

6. Hoodwinker Sunfish (Mola Tecta)

Hiding in plain sight.Maria Nyegaard

Ocean sunfish are hard to miss. They're huge and disc-shaped, with no apparent tail and long, flapping fins on top and bottom of their flattened bodies. Remember those Boston fishermen who thought they'd found an injured baby whale in 2015? That was a sunfish.

If you've ever seen one, you might have called it a "Mola mola," which is the scientific name of one species. Turns out, there are even more Mola species: Mola ramsayi, and, based on genetic analysis, the new Mola tecta. It's sleeker than its cousins, and the first addition to the genus in 125 years.

7. Fire Goby (Palatogobius Incendius)

With a name like a Harry Potter spell, this Caribbean goby rounds out the 2017 fish list in magical style. Its fiery name comes from its bright orange, yellow and pink scales. Fire gobies live in schools on deep reefs, from roughly 100 to 200 meters deep.

Back in 2015, before the gobies were formally described, scientists found a school of 50 swimming near a rock wall in Curaçao. The researchers filmed the gobies from inside a submarine, and then saw something unprecedented. Invasive lionfish, introduced to the Caribbean from the Pacific, attacked the school while the scientists watched. The researchers caught it all on film, in the first recording of invasive lionfish threatening an "undiscovered" species.

If you thought this year was a trash fire, then fire gobies devoured by invasive species probably adds to the hot mess. Don't despair though. With princesses and dragons and volcano fish in the mix, scientific discovery was ablaze this year too. For fish at least, 2017 was lit.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Business
Blue Point Brewing Company

Long Island Brewer Launches 'Good Reef Ale' to Help Restore New York’s Oyster Reefs

Between the 1600s and the early 20th century, European settlers in New York City ate their way through 220,000 acres of oyster reefs covering 350 square miles, The Washington Post reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
California restaurants will only be able to serve plastic straws like these upon request. Horia Varlan / CC BY 2.0

California Becomes First State to Regulate Plastic Straws

California became the first state in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in dine-in restaurants Thursday when Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to that effect, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The law, which will enter into force Jan. 1, prohibits restaurants from providing straws unless a customer requests one. It covers only sit-down eateries, not fast food restaurants, delis or coffee shops.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Giannis Giannakopoulos / YouTube

'Partying' Spiders Blanket Greek Beach on 1,000-Foot Cobweb

Arachnophobes beware. A shoreline by the Greek town of Aitoliko has been swamped by a mass of mating spiders and 1,000 feet of their cobwebs.

Earlier this week, a local named Giannis Giannakopoulos uploaded a YouTube video and posted several pictures of the spectacle on his Facebook page, showing shrubs, palm fronds and other greenery completely veiled by spider webs.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Frank Straub / EyeEm / Getty Images

Greenpeace Report: Europe Has 10 Years Left to Ditch Fossil Fuel Cars

Europe must phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars by 2028 if it wants to live up to its Paris climate agreement emissions-reduction pledges, according to new research by Germany's Aerospace Center.

Even conventional hybrid cars, which feature gasoline-powered engines, would have to disappear by the mid-2030s if Europe intends to fulfill its part of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to the Greenpeace-commissioned study.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
An ambulance crashed into a fallen tree from Storm Ali in Newcastle on Sept. 19. Owen Humphreys / PA Images via Getty Images

100 mph Winds Kill Two in First Named Storm to Hit UK and Ireland This Season

Storm Ali, the first named storm of the UK storm season, killed two and sent several to the hospital as winds of more than 100 miles per hour walloped Ireland, Scotland and Northern England Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Ireland lost power and 30,000 lost power in southwest Scotland.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
Hawaii, Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) with surface reflections. Robinson Ed / Perspectives / Getty Images

Hawaii's Cauliflower Coral Moves Toward Endangered Species Act Listing

Cauliflower coral, a bushy species in the Hawaiian Islands that has been devastated by ocean warming triggered by human-caused climate change, could soon get federal protection. The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday announced that listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act, based on a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
David Speier / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Journalist Dies in Clash Over Dirty Coal in Germany

By Andy Rowell

Over the last week, the German Police have deployed thousands of officers, backed up by water cannons and armored vehicles, to evict hundreds of climate activists trying to defend the last remnants of an ancient forest in Germany from being destroyed by RWE, which wants to expand the biggest open coal mine in Europe.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Flooded suburb of the city of Itacoatiara (Central Amazon region) in 2009. Jochen Schöngart, National Institute for Amazon Research

World's Largest River Floods Five Times More Often Than It Used to

Extreme floods have become more frequent in the Amazon Basin in just the last two to three decades, according to a new study.

After analyzing 113 years of Amazon River levels in Port of Manaus, Brazil, researchers found that severe floods happened roughly every 20 years in the first part of the 20th century. Now, extreme flooding of the world's largest river occurs every four years on average—or about five times more frequently than it used to.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!