Indonesian scientists working together with counterparts from the University of California have announced the discovery of a new species of fish in East Nusa Tenggara.
The new species was named Parcheilinus rennyae in honor of ichthyologist Renny Hadiaty of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
“I’m deeply honored by this recognition, not only because it is such a beautiful fish species, but also because the lead author on the description is my close colleague and internationally renowned ichthyologist Gerald Allen,” said Hadiaty, the curator of fish collections at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense (MZB), in a statement released by Conservation International on Wednesday.
The description of the species — a flasher wrasse — was published in the year-end edition of aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, the statement said.
Conservation International (CI) said that Hadiaty, in her 27-year career, has focused primarily on the taxonomy of freshwater fish in Indonesia, and has coauthored many papers with Allen, who now works for CI as a consultant.
The wrasse — a striking and colorful fish — is adding further conservation value to Komodo National Park and the surrounding reefs of southwest Flores, according to CI.
Tiene Gunawan, marine program director at Conservation International Indonesia, said that the new species therefore must be protected.
Although it is the seventeenth known species of flasher wrasse, CI said that the fish is unique in both its colors and the rounded shape of its dorsal and anal fins and tail.
“We’re delighted that one of our young local scientists, Ni Luh Astria Yusmalinda, was able to publish her first international journal paper based on her genetic analysis of this new species and its closest relatives,” Ngurah Mahardika, the hosting laboratory director of the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center at Udayana University, said.
He also said that he deemed it particularly fitting that the new species be named after Renny and added that he hoped “this will highlight the spirit of strong scientific collaboration between Indonesian universities, conservation NGOs like Conservation International and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.”
Flasher wrasses are popular among divers and underwater photographers because of their neon color patterns displayed as part of a daily mating ritual about one hour before sundown. Wrasses are brownish in hue the remainder of the day.
“We’re also hopeful that this new species will add to the tourism value of Komodo National Park and the surrounding reefs of southwest Flores,” Tiene Gunawan, marine program director at Conservation International Indonesia, said.
The scientists participating scientists were from the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center, a collaborative initiative of Udayana University in Bali, the State University of Papua in Manokwari, Diponegoro University in Semarang, the University of California Los Angeles and Conservation International Indonesia.