‘Fiery’ New Fish Species Discovered With Tentacles, Pointy Teeth
Researchers on an expedition to the western Pacific Ocean near Japan and the Philippines recently discovered a brightly-colored new species of scorpionfish that has some pretty interesting characteristics, including tentacles and pointy teeth.
According to a study published earlier this month in the science journal Ichthyological Research, via the Miami Herald, the fish were collected as part of a sample of 38 specimens of small fish ranging in length from about 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches. The new species was named Neomerinthe ignea, or the Pacific-flame Scorpionfish, after the Latin word for “fiery” due to their bright-orange coloring.
Today at GenBank, sequences from Neomerinthe ignea, a #newspecies of scorpionfish from the western Pacific, courtesy of Matsumoto, Muto & Motomura in Ichthyological Research https://t.co/N91aK05pIj pic.twitter.com/lvILazkx4X
— John P. Sullivan (@halooie1) November 7, 2023
Although the creatures were initially confused for another similar species of Neomerinthe, they were eventually distinguished as a unique species by the 12 spines on their dorsal-fins, 24 vertebrae, and unique scales and teeth. In addition to their coloring, which ranges from bright orange to reddish white, the fish feature black blotches on their bodies and have black pupils in their eyes with irises mottled with black and yellow bars radiating from the center.
Other identifying features include a “steep” snout, compressed body, and “large” mouth filled with short, pointy teeth. The fish also have tentacles that envelop its body ranging in size from “large” to “minute,” which are said to be particularly dense near its head and associated with its spines.
Given that the depths of the ocean are vast and largely unchartered, the latest discovery emphasizes how much we are still learning about the creatures that lurk below the water’s surface.