For many, 2016 was a year best left forgotten, but it was actually a great year for scientists (and fishkeepers) thanks to the discovery of three new marine species. In the warm waters of Indonesia’s coral reefs, scientists formally described three new species of flasher wrasse - a stunningly vibrant fish that looks more at home in the neon strips of Las Vegas than in the seas of Bali.

The flasher is aptly named not just because of the eye-popping colour that makes it greatly prized amongst marine aquarists, but also because of its courtship behaviour. When the males are actively trying to attract the attentions of a willing female, they will quickly and dramatically intensify their colouration from relatively muted shades to firework bursts of vivid neon.

This powerful “flash” of colour is further enhanced by bouts of rapid, darting “dancing”, interspersed with moments of stillness during which the male spreads its dorsal and anal fins for extra attention. The overall effect is a display that’s definitely dazzling, and it’s perhaps the only time when male flashing is desirable.

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