It was once thought that the red-fawn canary was native to Australia, and it was also thought that its population had peaked in recent decades.
But now scientists have uncovered a new species that was thought to have only been spotted in the south-west of Australia in the 1960s.
Scientists say that red-factor canaries have been spotted on the Great Barrier Reef for more than 60 years, and the species has now been named a new genus.
Researchers said the new species, named P.canaria fawne, was found on the northern shores of the Great Australian Bight and was about 5cm long.
“It’s actually quite surprising to see a species in the genus P. canaria fennel on the same reef,” Dr Julie Lyle, of the Queensland Museum of Natural History, said.
“The red factor has been spotted more frequently over the last 30 years, so we really thought it was quite common, but we hadn’t seen any of them before.”
The new species is about two metres long, and researchers have said that it has a slender body and a white-furred tail, with the tips of its two fangs protruding out.
Dr Lyle said the species could be a new member of the red family, although it has not yet been officially named.
The canary’s habitat is the Great Bight, about 200km south-east of Darwin, and its presence has been noted since the 1970s.
The red-tailed canary has been observed at various times of the year on the Bight in recent years.
However, this was the first time the species was found to be a resident of the reef, Dr Lyle told the ABC.
In 2016, researchers spotted the canary on the south coast of the state, but the species’ presence was not recorded until 2017.
This new species has been named P-canaria, after the Australian federal election, which saw the Liberal Party win a state election.