Exciting things have been going on at Sea Sanctuaries recently. A new species of fish has been discovered and it has been named after one of our founders Helen Newman, leader of the survey that led to the discovery of this species. The fish has been named after her for her tireless conservation efforts on behalf of Raja Ampat and its indigenous communities over the past decade..
Helen is a Marine Biologist who has worked in SE Asia for more than 30 years and co-founded Sea Sanctuaries with Simon Day.
The new species of Trimma helenae, was discovered by Dr Mark Erdmann, who is on our Scientific Advisory Board, in the southeastern lagoon at Penemu. The new species has a unique colour pattern, consisting of a yellow anterior half and red posterior half, with four small white spots along the midline of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the caudal peduncle. T. helenae belongs to a group of 12 valid nominal species defined by having a broad bony interorbital region (width 80– 100% of pupil diameter), but differs from all of but three of these in having only cycloid scales in the midline and on the sides of the nape. The other members of the group have mostly ctenoid scales in this region.
We also need to say thank you to Dr Gerry Allen, who is also one of our Scientfic Advisers, for his role in the discovery. Credits are due to Mark & Gerry for the Paratype and Holotype images you see here.