Scientists classify bright-colored frogfish as new “psychedelica” species

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Scientists have declared that a bright-colored fish, with peach zebra stripes on its body that bounces on the seabed like a rubber ball is a new species. Scientists have classified the fish a new species named "psychedelica". 

According to a paper published in the US scientific journal Copeia, the journal of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the psychedelic fish was first discovered by scuba diving instructors, working for a tour operator, a year ago, in shallow waters off Ambon Island in eastern Indonesia. 

The scientific journal Copeia states that the discovery was brought to the notice of Ted Pietsch, lead author of a paper published in the scientific journal Copeia, and Pietsch submitted DNA work identifying it as a new species. The species of the new fish was named "psychedelica" by the professor of the University of Washington. The fish gives "overall impression of an inflated rubber ball bouncing along the bottom," says the Copeia research paper. 

The paper published in journal states that the unique looking fish belongs to the frogfish family. The fish is a member of the antennariid genus, Histiophryne, and like other frogfish, has fins on both sides of its body that have evolved to be leg-like. The new psychedelica frogfish has its body covered with swirling concentric stripes - white and blue on a peach background - radiating out from its aqua-coloured eyes. Its gelatinous fist-sized body covered with thick folds of skin protects it from sharp-edged corals. It has a broad flat face, thick fleshy cheeks and chin, and eyes that look forward like a human's, and a huge, yawning mouth.

According to scuba diving instructors, who discovered the fish, "each time the fish strike the seabed, for instance, they push off with their fins and expel water from tiny gill openings to jet themselves forward. That, and an off-centered tail, causes them to bounce around in a bizarre, chaotic manner".

Senior adviser to the Conservation International's marine program, Mark Erdman said, on Thursday that it was an exciting discovery. Erdman said, "I think people thought frogfishes were relatively well known and to get a new one like this is really quiet spectacular. ... It's a stunning animal,"

"It also speaks to the tremendous diversity in this region and to fact that there are still a lot of unknowns here - in Indonesia and in the Coral Triangle in general," Erdman added. 
 


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