The waters of Wallacea are again in the world's spotlight with the discovery of a new type of Flasher Wrasse fish in the waters of Komodo, East Nusa Tenggara. The bright orange reef fish and rounded fins got the scientific name Paracheilinus rennyae—taken from the name of the fish expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Renny Kurnia Hadiaty.
The findings of P. rennyae were published in the International Journal of Ichtyology, Aqua. The findings were also announced on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by researchers from Conservation International Indonesia and the Center for Biodiversity Research. The Indonesian Center for Biodiversity Research is a collaborative initiative of Udayana University in Bali, Papua State University in Manokwari, Diponegoro University in Semarang, and the University of California in Los Angeles.
P. rennyae lives in coral reefs in the southwest area of Flores Island and Komodo National Park. This fish is unique compared to 16 other known Flasher Wrasse species, especially in terms of the color pattern and the rounded shape of the dorsal fin, anal fin and rounded tail.
In addition, this new species is proven to have genetic differences with other Flasher Wrasse that live in the coral triangle which covers the waters of Wallacea, the Philippines, to the east of Papua.
Flasher Wrasse is a group of fish species favored by divers and underwater photographers because it has a bright blue and red color pattern like decorative lights. The unique color pattern only appears when the reef fish perform their daily mating ritual, about an hour before sunset.
At that moment, the male Flasher Wrasse which is normally brown in color, swims up and flashes a stunning flash of mating color pattern while straightening its fins. The male fish swims fast in an instant to attract the attention of the nearby females and make them spawn.
The discovery of this new species, apart from making a significant contribution to the world of science, is also expected to increase the flow of tourists to Komodo National Park, especially divers and underwater photographers. (Tri Susanti)