New Deep-Reef Butterflyfish Species Discovered in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

Posted on September 16, 2016

Prognathodes basabei

A new species of deep-sea butterflyfish has been discovered in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It has been described by scientists from the Bishop Museum and NOAA. It lives in deep coral reefs at depths of 150 to 500 feet.

Richard Pyle, Bishop Museum scientist and lead author on the publication, says in the announcement, "Butterflyfish are the glamour fish of the coral reefs. They are colorful, beautiful, and have been very well-studied worldwide. Finding a new species of butterflyfish is a rare event."

A group of three Pete Basabe's Butterflyfish


The species was first observed in video taken from manned submersibles over twenty years ago. It has been named Prognathodes basabei. The butterflyfish is named after Pete Basabe, a veteran local diver from Kona.

A research paper on the new species was published here in the journal, ZooKeys. Take a look:



Photos: Greg McFall/NOAA/Richard L. Pyle / Bishop Museum