The new species are always an exciting topic to write about and while the fish get the lion’s share of the attention, this year had a lot of great new corals and invertebrates. The zoanthids, deepwater gorgonians and the miniature octocoral polyps are usual suspects but we also saw taxonomists dive deeper into two important groups of corals, the Euphyllia and Heliopora blue ridge corals.
We’ve long suspected that the ancient lineage of blue ridge was more diverse than the single species let on but we now have a second one, with a whitish skeleton to appreciate the diversity within this group. The resurrection of Fimbriaphyllia is still tentative but it highlights the deeper differences between certain species of the popular flowy aquarium corals, although the exact separation is not yet fully understood.
While we didn’t get any super exciting new descriptions of tropical shrimp or giant clams, we did get a new species of pygmy squid and two cryptic species of shrimp that live symbiotically with other inverts. Like we say every year, there’s still so much we don’t know about our oceans and the diverse creatures that live there and we can’t wait to see what new discoveries in our next full orbit of the sun.