Friday 8 January 2016

Researchers identify 20 new freshwater fish species in Australia

JANUARY 7, 2016

by Brett Smith

Australian researchers have identified a record-setting 20 new fish species in a remote region of Western Australia known as Kimberly.

The team’s discoveries, outlined in a report published by the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, are collectively the single biggest addition to Australia’s freshwater fish inventory since official records started. The new discovery raises the overall quantity of known species in Australia by nearly 10 percent.

Each new species fall in one of three categories: There are 16 Terapontidae (grunters), three Eleotridae (gudgeons), and one Atherinidae (hardy heads).

"The freshwater ecosystems of the Kimberley are among the poorest known and least researched areas of Australia," study author Tim Dempster, a biologist from the University of Melbourne, said in a statement. "If we can double the number of known fish species unique to the Kimberley in just three years, it can only mean the entire biodiversity of life in Kimberley rivers is underestimated.

"Certainly, it is a treasure trove for freshwater fish - and the amazing thing is that we weren't even looking for it,” he added.

Despite potential vulnerability, none of the new fish are conservation-listed

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