School kids name new reef fish

Feb 11, 2014

Primary school children in Sydney have named a newly identified species of reef fish, recently described by a University of Sydney ichthyologist.

The 's stripy markings have earned it the moniker tigrellus (little tiger), at the suggestion of students who visited the Macleay Museum's booth at the Australian Museum's Science Festival Expo last year.

A specimen of the fish - collected in the southern Red Sea by a Russian colleague - was sent to the Macleay Museum's natural history curator and resident ichthyologist Dr Tony Gill earlier in the year. Although similar to the existing Xenisthmus genus the specimen lacked scales, leading Dr Gill to create a new genus. He named it Gynmoxenisthmus (from the Greek gymnos, meaning naked) but couldn't settle on a species name.

Dr Gill took the opportunity to enlist help from primary-school students attending August's Expo, inviting them to suggest and vote on names based on the fish's appearance. Among labels touted were kofta, bongo, candy cane, Pippy Longstockings and tiger. In the end little tiger (tigrellus) won the vote and the new species Gymnoxenisthmus tigrellus has just been named in the journal Zootaxa.

Gymnoxenisthmus tigrellus is from the gobioid fish family Xenisthmidae. Dr Gill has named half of the 14 xenisthmid species discovered so far alongside about a third of the 150 known species in another family (the dottybacks, family Pseudochromidae).

"This indicates how recently many of these reef fish have been discovered," says Dr Gill. Each year around 400-500 new are discovered, with most coming from coral-reef and freshwater habitats. Efforts are also made to understand the distribution and abundance of each species, but our understanding is usually very limited.

"Without knowing the populations of most reef we don't know how much human activity is impacting on them."

Explore further: Reef fish find it's too hot to swim

More information: Read about Gymnoxenisthmus tigrellus here: www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2014/f/zt03755p495.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Artificial reef in Red sea teems with life

Aug 20, 2013

In 2007, an artificial reef designed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers was placed in the Gulf of Eilat to reduce environmental pressure on the region's natural reef. Now teeming with ...

Reef fish find it's too hot to swim

Nov 27, 2013

We all know the feeling, it's a hot summer afternoon and you have no appetite and don't want to do anything apart from lay on the couch.

Recommended for you

Dogs can be pessimists too

18 hours ago

Dogs generally seem to be cheerful, happy-go-lucky characters, so you might expect that most would have an optimistic outlook on life.

Transparent larvae hide opaque eyes behind reflections

Sep 17, 2014

Becoming invisible is probably the ultimate form of camouflage: you don't just blend in, the background shows through you. And this strategy is not as uncommon as you might think. Kathryn Feller, from the University of Maryland ...

Peacock's train is not such a drag

Sep 17, 2014

The magnificent plumage of the peacock may not be quite the sacrifice to love that it appears to be, University of Leeds researchers have discovered.

User comments : 0