Monday, 10 April 2017

First-ever European cave fish discovered by amateur diver


April 5, 2017

by Brett Smith

The pink, scaleless and possibly blind cave loach is the first ever instance of a fish found living in a European cave, and those behind the discovery said it is most northerly species of cave fish ever found.

According to a report on the discovery in the journal Current Biology, the cave loach likely split off from surface-dwelling loaches at within the last 20,000 years. The fish was first sighted in a difficult-to-reach section of a subterranean water system in Southern Germany by amateur diver Joachim Kreiselmaier, who snapped a photo of the fish and passed it along to Jasminca Behrmann-Godel, an expert in fish evolution at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

"When I saw the photo I wasn't sure it was really something special," Behrmann-Godel told BBC News. "Then he brought me a live specimen and that was like the bang. That was the moment we realized that this was something really new!"
Relatively Young Creature

Divers have since retrieved five specimens for study, and genetic analyses have revealed the fish came about recently, within the last 20,000 years. Although scientists said they weren’t sure if it will ultimately be classified as a new species. 
 

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