Two thousand seventeen was a super busy year for us to keep up with all the new species being described from tropical coral reefs. There was a multitude of novel creatures getting formal classification from tropical coral reefs that included both fish, corals and even a few cool crabs.
But far and away the group or reef animals that hogged the spotlight this year were the wrasses, including two stunning Pseudojuloides pencil wrasses and several very unique species of Cirrhilabrus fairy wrasses. Granted, the new fairy wrasses are mostly red, and the new pencil wrasses are mostly green, but they each possess a combination of color and pattern which helped to make them stand out from known species in some way.
What made these wrasses stand out in a crowded taxonomic field is the splendid living photographs of each new species provided by some gifted photographers. Long gone are the days when the only images of new species used freshly caught or preserved fish photos to illustrate the new descriptions. Therefore we want to extend a very sincere thank you to K. Nishiyama, V. Altimirano, M.P. Hammer, B. Shutman, F. Walsh and MANY others for literally bringing these new fish to life.
Without a doubt 2017 was a banner year for new species of reef fish, and especially wrasses and below you’ll find the five new labrid species which made the wrasse family one of the most exciting groups of coral reef fish.