CAIRNS POST - A Tablelands scientist has helped discover an energetic new species of fish in the Solomon Islands.

James Cook University’s Dr Brendan Ebner was part of an international team of researchers that carried out a pioneering survey of aquatic biodiversity in the South Pacific nation in 2014.

While snorkelling in a rainforest stream on remote Choiseul Island, Dr Ebner came across a flash of red in the water, about 4cm long.

He described it as a “Mexican jumping bean” that refused to stay still.

“It was a really active little thing,’’ he said.

“There are a few fish that look really similar, but we thought there was a chance it was something new.”

The team was able to catch the fish on multiple islands, later identifying it as an entirely new species of goby, Lentipes kolobangara.

The fish, also known as the cling goby, uses a suction cap on its underside to climb waterfalls and cling to rocks during heavy rainfall and strong flowing water.

Its scientific name refers to the steep volcanic island of Kolobangara.

Dr Ebner said the female of the species was transparent, and “exceptionally drab”, whereas the male was coloured bright red.

“I grew up in a commercial fishing family, and have been obsessed with fish since I was a young lad,’’ he said.

“So as a scientist in the mid part of my career, it is a real privilege to be working with a bunch of fish specialists, and finding new critters.”

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