Thursday, 3 August 2017

Researchers discover first new sunfish species in 130 years

JULY 26, 2017

by Chuck Bednar
For the first time in more than a century, researchers have discovered a new species of sunfish – a creature that could grow to nearly 10 feet (3 meters) in size and weigh at least two metric tons, and which is described in a recent edition of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

The previously unknown species has been dubbed the Hoodwinker Sunfish (Mola tecta), and as Mashable explained, it was discovered by Australian Ph. D. student Marianne Nyegaard and her colleagues after a four-year hunt that started with samples of the creature’s skin and DNA.

As Nyegaard explained on the website The Conversation, she analyzed more than 150 samples of sunfish DNA as part of a population study conducted off the coast of Bali in Indonesia as part of her doctoral research. Sequencing the genomes of those samples revealed four distinct species of sunfish – three which were known, and a fourth that had never been identified.

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