Vibrant new 'starburst' fish discovered deep in the Caribbean Sea

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New 'Starburst' Fish Discovered Deep In the Caribbean

A stunning new fish was just discovered in the Caribbean, and it looks like something straight out of a Pixar movie!

The colorful fish, discovered near the island of Curacao, was spotted during a reef exploration that was a part of a Smithsonian Institution mission called the Deep Reef Observation Project, or DROP.

The area doesn't typically see a lot of analysis, as the waters are too deep for conventional scuba research and too shallow for submarines to explore.

"The 50- to 300-meter [160 to 980 feet] tropical ocean zone is poorly studied — too deep for conventional scuba and too shallow to be of much interest to really deep-diving submersibles," Carole Baldwin, the lead scientist at DROP, said in a statement. "The Curasub is providing scientists with the technology needed to remedy this gap in our knowledge of Caribbean reef biodiversity."

Scientists have dubbed the newly found fish "stellate scorpionfish." However, it's scientific name is "Scorpaenodes barrybrowni" in honor of Barry Brown, a nature photographer who worked on the mission -- life goal achieved.

All we can say is thank goodness the team made the trek down there because look how gorgeous it is!


Image: Barry Brown

Researchers remain optimistic that more and more discoveries as fascinating as this one remain just around the corner.

"Stay tuned for more new discoveries," said Baldwin. "We have only scratched the surface of our understanding of the biodiversity of tropical deep reefs."

We're certainly looking forward to it!

Check out some more rare fish found in the ocean:

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Rare fish of the ocean
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Rare fish of the ocean
Washington, DC - October, 5: A lion fish in a tank near a new and rare albino alligator which has taken up residence with other scary fish just in time for Halloween at the National Aquarium on October, 05, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: Seahorses are displayed at an 'Endangered Species' exhibition at London Zoo on September 12, 2011 in London, England. The exhibition is organised by 'Operation Charm', a Metropolitan Police partnership aimed at tackling the illegal trade in endangered wildlife and runs for one month at London Zoo. Items include a 10 week old stuffed Tiger cub, the tooth of a sperm whale, Ivory carvings, and a stuffed Tiger. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A critically endangered small tooth sawfish roams its new home at Oceanworld in Sydney on August 18, 2011. Measuring over 1.5 metres in length, sawfish have adapted to live in both salt and fresh water, while their long saw-like rostrum (nose) has evolved to expertly forage for food under the sandy ocean floor. AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD (Photo credit should read TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
BROMLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 9: *** EXCLUSIVE *** Coral in Clayton Smith's fish tank on November 9, 2010 in Bromley, London, England. The flower beds maybe bare and winter is just around the corner but one Londoner is cultivating an underwater garden of the tropical kind. 'Reef Farmer' Clayton Smith, owner and founder of Reefworks, has turned his home-made coral tank into a treasure trove by creating a spectacular international coral farming business. Stretching 30 ft in length these 14 giant tanks contain over 150 species of exotic multicoloured coral from all over the world. Nicknamed 'The Bromley Reef' the colossal farm houses 2000 living colonies that are grown and then sold to enthusiasts in the UK and around the world. Now he is taking his quest for rare coral to another level by farming one of the richest but most delicate ecosystems in the world - the coral reefs of Indonesia. The marine biologist is so concerned with the impact of the unethical trade in endangered species. Coral reefs are found throughout the oceans of the world from the polar regions to the tropics. Although they cover only 0.2 percent of the ocean floor they provide a habitat for 25 percent of the ocean's wildlife. Scientists fear that unless drastic action is taken to conserve coral, up to 70 percent of reefs could be destroyed within the next 20 to 40 years. (Photo by Laurentiu Garofeanu / Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
SOUTH AFRICA - UNSPECIFIED DATE: ***EXCLUSIVE*** Sharks follow the Sardines. It is billed as the greatest natural show on earth and from these stunning images it is easy to why. Encompassing diving gannets, sharks, dolphins and brydes whales this is the increasingly rare and unpredictable sardine run. Underwater photographer Jason Heller travelled to the wild coast of South Africa this July to capture one of the unique predatory shows. Amazingly for Jason, who has been involved in underwater photography since 2001, this was his first experience of the sardine run. Followed by thousands of hungry dolphins, sharks, sea birds and seals, the sardines protect themselves from this onslaught by forming into giant balls called 'bait balls' which can measure as large as 65 feet, or 20 metres, in diameter. Using micro light planes to try and spot and relay the co-ordinates of the masses of fish and dive bombing gannets. (Photo by Jason Heller / Barcroft Media / Getty Images) (Photo by Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
Red handfish, Thymichthys politus, rare and critically endangered species known only from this area, Southeastern Tasmania, Australia (Photo by: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)
Ziebells handfish, Brachiopsilus ziebelli, very rare species found only in southeastern Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia (Photo by: Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: An extremely rare fluorescent yellow Port Jackson shark is shown to the public for the first time at the Sydney Aquarium, 30 March 2004. The two-year-old male named 'Mango', who has spent the last few months in quarantine at the Aquarium after being discovered caught up in a fishing net, derives its unusual bright yellow colouring from a rare form of albinism, a problem for the sharks as they normally lie on the seabed trying to camouflage themselves from predators. AFP PHOTO/Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
Humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), endangered species. Ras Muhummed, Red Sea, Egypt. (Photo by Auscape/UIG via Getty Images)
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