New Species Identified

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( – During an investigation in North America territory researchers found something mindblowing lurking in the water

Researchers have announced the discovery of a new species of tropical fish during an expedition to remote islands off the Pacific coast of Mexico.

Named the Halichoeres sanchezi, or the tailspot wrasse, the colorful species was found living among volcanic rubble in the waters surrounding the Revillagigedo Archipelago — an island system known as the “Mexican Galapagos” for its vast marine biodiversity.

“It’s amazing that we can still find species that are new to science in a place where people are visiting pretty regularly — it just shows how big and complex the world is,” said Ben Frable from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who was part of the expedition.

Based on the specimens examined by Frable and the team, the species ranges in size from about an inch long to nearly six inches and is believed to be hermaphroditic.

“The smaller female fish are mostly white with reddish horizontal stripes along their top half and black patches on their dorsal fin, behind their gills and just in front of their tail fin,” described Frable. “The male fish were described by Frable as having an ‘orangy red up top fading to a yellow belly with a dark band at the base of the tail.’”

Researchers believe the tailspot wrasse is related to other fish in the wrasse family, such as the California sheephead and the bluestreak cleaner wrasse, but it is considered endemic to the Revillagigedo Archipelago, meaning it is unique to the area and cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.

Located just 250 miles south of the Baja California peninsula, the Revillagigedo islands are renowned for their rich marine life, partly due to protections against fishing in the area.

Over the course of a two-week expedition in November 2022, led by marine scientist Carlos Armando Sánchez Ortíz of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, the team explored all four islands in the Revillagigedo system in 30 different research dives, collecting over 900 specimens representing more than 100 species of fish.

During the final days of the trip, the team encountered the tailspot wrasse, confirming the discovery of this new species.

DNA analysis later confirmed that the fish was indeed a distinct species, bringing the total number of endemic fish species for the Revillagigedo Archipelago up to 14.