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SYFY WIRE Black Panther

New species of 'vibranium' wrasse fish named for Marvel's Black Panther

By Josh Weiss
Black Panther

In the Marvel Universe, the nation of Wakanda is one of the most technologically-advanced countries on the planet thanks to its rich reserves of the fictional space metal known as Vibranium.

To honor the hidden and science-oriented homeland of Black Panther, a brand-new species of fairy wrasse fish (discovered off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa) has been dubbed "Cirrhilabrus wakanda." If your Latin is a bit rusty, you may also refer to the fish as "vibranium fairy wrasse," which inhabit reefs of sponge beds and rhodolith at depths of 50 to 80 meters. 

Details of the discovery were put forth in the publication of a paper on Thursday by Yi-Kai Tea, Hudson T. Pinheiro, and Bart Shepherd, Luiz A. Rocha.

"The common name refers to the fictional metal vibranium, a rare substance found on Wakanda that is woven into Black Panther’s suit. The purple chain-link scale pattern of the new species is reminiscent of this detail," reads the scholarly article.

Vibranium fairy wrasse fish

Released last winter, Marvel Studios' Black Panther spinoff movie fast became a cultural phenomenon, raking in more than $1 billion at the global box office and becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. 

A sequel to the film is currently in the works from Ryan Coogler (Creed), who will return as writer and director. Both King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) were brought back to life by Professor Hulk near the end of Avengers: Endgame.