A flash of silver zipped through the water off the coast of Thailand. The fish was navigating the Andaman Sea — until it was caught by a fisherman and brought back to the Phuket Fishing Port.
That’s where researchers bought the creature, according to a study published Nov. 14 in the journal Ichthyology and Herpetology. After studying the uniquely colorful specimen, scientists determined it was actually a new species.
Known as Thrissina aurora, or the Sunrise Thryssa, the new species is the 35th known species of Thrissina, which is an Indo-West Pacific genus of fish, scientists said.
The specimen bought from the port measured about 5.8 inches and had a “very deep” body, according to the study. Both of its semi-transparent jaws have small teeth that are “not canine-like.”
Scientists said the creature’s pointed snout is “about level” with the center of its round eyes, which are covered with with thin fatty eyelids. Its mouth is “large” and extends backward, beyond its eyes.
The new species is named after the Latin word for dawn because of its “bright yellow and orangish” color, which is “reminiscent of sunrise,” researchers said. The fish’s silver body is interspersed with orange and yellow scales on the sides.
Researchers said the fish has “sharp needle-like” bony scales covering its abdomen.
The Sunrise Thryssa’s silver head also has a patch of goldish-silver toward the middle, according to the study. Its fins vary in color from orange, to whitish, to yellowish. The fish also has some black markings on its body and fins.
Scientists said the species has only been found in Phuket, but molecular evidence indicates that it might also be found off Ranong, Thailand, which is north of Phuket on the country’s western coast.
The new species is distinguished from other types of Thrissina by its gills and DNA, according to the study.