New species of Antarctic fish discovered

December 19, 2006

U.S. scientists have found a new species of Antarctic fish that are about 13-inches long, thrive in the cold and have an interorbital pit with two openings.

The new species of fish were discovered by Paul Cziko and Kevin Hoefling, members of a University of Illinois-Champaign research team working in McMurdo Sound in November 2004.

The scientists were diving in the area in search of dragonfish eggs for a study concerning antifreeze proteins that was published earlier this year.

"We just came across this fish," Cziko recalled. "It was just sitting on the bottom, like most other fish in the area. There are only about a dozen species that swim in the area, with four to five easily distinguishable species. This one jumped out at us. First of all it was pretty big, and it looked quite different than the others."

The species was named Cryothenia amphitreta. Cryothenia translates from Greek as "from the cold," while amphitreta literally means "an orifice with two openings."

The research is detailed in the December issue of the journal Copeia.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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