As in previous years, 2013 has been an excellent year for new species of reef fish being discovered, and described. As usual there’s been a lot of Eviota and Trimma gobies, the dwarf gobies are plentiful, and there’s been a few wrasses, and even a shark!
It was tough picking the top five nest new reef species of 2013, and the Oreo Chromis just barely got edge out. Either way, you’ll see that we got to see some amazing new species in incredible detail this year and there’s no doubt that the ocean is still full of amazing species that will continue to trickle up to our attention in the future.
Komodo Flasher Wrasse – The Komodo flasher wrasse, Paracheilinus rennyae, is a species whose existence was known for some time before its official description. We even covered the Komodo flasher wrasse back when its distinct species status was only supposed.
Unique among congeners, Paracheilinus rennyae is one of only two species in the genus to have continuous finnage with no streamers, lyretail or other adornments. The komodo flasher wrasse is still exceptionally beautiful and would make a huge splash if it ever entered the aquarium hobby.
Flame Plectranthias – Plectranthias is also a very prolific genus in temrs of offering up new species on a regular basis. The aptly named Flame Basslet, Plectranthias flammeus, is yet another of those new species which taunts us from a geographic distance but a fairly reasonable depth. Found only in Fench Polynesia, at least P. flammeus occurs in accessible 60 to 150 feet where fish collectors could actually get to it if they ever sought out to.
Sunrise Dwarf Goby – For us the sunrise dwarf goby, Eviota pamae, is the newly described species that took our breath away. In a crowded field of countless new species of Eviota and Trimma gobies being described, E. pamae stands out as the most exquisite.
Killer color, with dramatic contrast ad flowing finnage in the males of the species all but guarantee that if this fish ever makes it to our little nano reef tanks, the first waves of the Dwarf Sunrise goby would sell for Lotilia dwarf goby prices. Not to mention, its exquisite coloration ensures that this is one species the fish breeders would fight to be able to breed and work with.
Halmahera Epaulette Shark – New species of sharks are occasionally discovered and described but rarely are the adults small enough to ship in a typical fish box. The newly described Hemiscylum halmahera is a new species of the popular epaulette shark species which crawl the ocean bottom with two pairs of fins like a salamander more than a fish.
Sunrise Anthias – If there was a sensational new species of aquarium fish this year, the Sunrise Anthias from New Caledonia definitely takes the cake. Still undescribed, the first appearance of this fish to our community was in shipments to Quality Marine in California. So not only did we get a new species of the popular Pseudanthias genus, the first ones we saw were in American aquariums and we’re likely to see more of them from future shipments to QM from New Caledonia.
We are so lucky as marine aquarists and reefers, that so many new species are discovered, described, or just made available to our hobby on an annual basis. Which species was your favorite? Did we miss any that you thought should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below and here’s to looking forward to another year of new fish and discoveries.