A New Butterflyfish— A Rare, Surprise Find— Is Described from the Philippine “Twilight Zone” and Academy Exhibit

A newly described species of brown-and-white Philippine butterflyfish—the charismatic Roa rumsfeldi—made a fantastic, 7,000-mile journey before surprising scientists with its unknown status. Live specimens collected from 360 feet beneath the ocean’s surface in the Philippine’s Verde Island Passage escaped special notice until a single black fin spine tipped off aquarium biologists back in San Francisco. Deep-diving researchers from the California Academy of Sciences’ Hope for Reefs team—with genetic sequencing help from a parent–son team—share their discovery of a fifth species of Roa this week in ZooKeys.