Navigation Links
Scientists describe 2 new species of fish from area engulfed by oil spill

Although the Gulf of Mexico has been intensively surveyed by scientists and picked over by fishermen, it is still home to fishes that are waiting to be described. New research published in the Journal of Fish Biology describes two new species of pancake batfishes (Halieutichthys intermedius and H. bispinosus) and re-describes another (H. aculeatus), all of which live in waters either partially or fully encompassed by the recent oil spill.

"One of the fishes that we describe is completely restricted to the oil spill area," says John Sparks, curator of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History. "If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine how much diversityespecially microdiversityis out there that we do not know about."

Pancake batfishes are members of the anglerfish family Ogcocephalidae, a group of about 70 species of flat bottom-dwellers that often live in deep, perpetually dark waters. Pancake batfishes have enormous heads and mouths that can thrust forward. This, combined with their ability to cryptically blend in with their surroundings, gives them an advantage for capturing prey. They use their stout, arm-like fins to 'walk' awkwardly along the substrate; their movements have been described as grotesque, resembling a walking bat. As most anglerfishes, batfishes have a dorsal fin that is modified into a spine or lure, although their lure excretes a fluid to reel in prey instead of bio-illuminating.

The pancake batfishes described by Sparks and colleagues, genus Halieutichthys , live in shallower waters than most batfishes and occur along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic from Louisiana to North Carolina. Until now, the currently described three fishes had been lumped into one species, since they all have similar coloration and body shape.

But there are several differences. The three species are distinguished by the size, shape (blunt or sharp), and arrangement of tubercles on the body; the presence or absence of dark bands on the pectoral fin; and the unique reticulate pigmentation patterns on the dorsal body surface. H. aculeatus, the re-described species, is characterized by a comparatively sparse arrangement of spiny tubercles and is distributed along the northeastern gulf coast as well as along the Florida, Georgia, and Carolina coasts. H. bispinosus is a newly described species with a characteristic pattern of densely arranged spiny tubercles covering the body and a geographic distribution similar to H. aculeatus. Finally, H. intermedius, the second newly described species, has a smooth, non-spiny dorsal surface and a geographic distribution that mirrors the current range of the Gulf oil spill. This last species does not have a known population outside of the Gulf of Mexico.

"These discoveries underscore the potential loss of undocumented biodiversity that a disaster of this scale may portend," says Sparks.


Contact: Kristin Elise Phillips
American Museum of Natural History

Related biology news :

1. Marine scientists return with rare creatures from the deep
2. Scientists find direct line from development to growth
3. UM School of Medicine scientists develop new strategy that may improve cognition
4. Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria
5. NOAA-supported scientists predict larger than average Gulf dead zone
6. SAGE to publish the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
7. Scientists call on US to stem ecological impact of trade in coral reef wildlife
8. 12 women scientists announced as winners of Elsevier Foundation TWOWS Awards
9. Climate change scientists turn up the heat in Alaska
10. Scientists question EPA estimates of greenhouse gas emissions
11. Scientists create 3-D models of whole mouse organs
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists describe 2 new species of fish from area engulfed by oil spill
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... TEL AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... in Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the ... has already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s ... for BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of ... In addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita ... miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of ... now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce ... cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, ... Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I ... President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific ...
Breaking Biology Technology: