What was long thought to be one species of tropical fish may actually be three.
There's still a whole lot we still don't know about diversity in the oceans.
We may be losing species before we even know they exist.
The King demoiselle is not just one type of fish, but three distinct groups that recently split from each other, according to a new study.
By essentially catching one species in the process of turning into three, the study suggests that conservation efforts might be failing a variety of species that have yet to be identified.
"This work, along with others, is starting to show that there is a lot more biodiversity in the oceans then we previously thought," said Joshua Drew, a marine conservation biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. "We really are in a situation where we are losing things before we even know they exist."
The King demoiselle is a variety of damselfish that lives in the Indo -- West Pacific, from the Solomon Islands to the Philippines and through central Indonesia. The area is known for its spectacular diversity, but the region also faces serious threats, including pollution, blast fishing, and oil spills from the shipping industry.