More than any other year 2017 felt like it was jam packed with a deluge of new species of marine fish being described. These included many from the tropical reefs that we all so love but there were even more which we passed on sharing because there were sharks, stingrays, brackish and deep sea monsters.
Even with splitting the new species of wrasses into their own list we still couldn’t include every single beautiful and interesting new species of reef fish into this year’s top ten recap. We got a new species of surgeonfish with the White chin surgeonfish which might have made the top ten had we been able to appreciate a living picture of this fish. And then there’s the redescribed Atlantic Anthias which was a known species but had never been illustrated in living color.
Even with all these exemptions the list of 2017’s top ten new species of reef fish is a juicy one. Surprisingly, we’re not overloaded with gobies or damselfish this year, although there were several described, there weren’t too many really attractive ones.
In their stead we got a lot of super cool and exotic anthias as well as one spanking new butterflyfish species, all of which came from the mysterious deep water twilight zone. Again we want to thank all the dedicated fishy photographers who helped bring these new species to life in our imaginations as well as the specially trained deep water divers who risk their lives to discover all the gems of the deep.
And as an added bonus, a California Academy of Underwater Sciences expedition to Easter Island resulted in the discovery of several very exciting new species of deeper water fish. We expect these will receive formal descriptions in the coming years where they will likely be included in future new species write ups and recaps.