New fish discovered in the Bellingshausen Sea

Mar 06, 2009
Gosztonyia antarctica . Foto: Jesús Matallanas / SINC

(PhysOrg.com) -- The new species of Antarctic fish, Gosztonyia antarctica, has been discovered at a depth of 650 metres in the Bellingshausen Sea in the Antarctic Ocean, an area which has not been studied since 1904 and where the fauna is "completely" unknown. Jesús Matallanas, the Spanish researcher responsible for the find, collected four specimens of the new species during Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) campaigns in the southern hemisphere summers of 2003 and 2006.

The study of the biodiversity of the Bellingshausen Sea has been systematically ignored by international projects because it is quite inaccessible and its beds are not mapped", SINC was told by Jesús Matallanas, the study's main author and researcher from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

The work, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Polar Biology, is based on the IEO's Bentart-03 and Bentart-06 campaigns, in which Matallanas participated as an expert in taxonomy of Antarctic fish.

It is a taxonomic study of these zoarcidae specimens (groups of dominant fish on the continental slope of northern seas which make up around 240 species) captured in the Bellingshausen Sea.

"One of the most significant results is that the ichthyofauna of the Bellingshausen Sea, contrary to what was previously believed, is more closely related to that of the Eastern Antarctic than the Western", highlighted the researcher.

Another important discovery is that in contrast to what occurs in other seas in the Antarctic Ocean, in the Bellingshausen Sea zoarcidae are the dominant group of fish below a depth of 550 metres", added the zoologist.

A family of fish with worldwide distribution

Before confirming the discovery of a new species, in this case Gosztonyia antarctica, which belongs to a group with a very wide distribution, the researcher carried out a worldwide review of all articles published to date.

The new species belongs to an also new genus, which is similar to various Patagonian genera, and its name Gosztonyia, is in recognition of Atila Esteban Gosztonyi, a great expert in the systematics of zoarcidae who has described various new genera endemic to the Magallanes region. The specific name, antarctica, refers to the place of capture of the species: the Antarctic region.

The specimens captured measure between 25.4 cm and 30 cm, are anguilliformes and "the skulls has a lot of its own exclusive anatomical characters", commented the scientist. All the specimens are preserved in 70% alcohol at the UAB.

Since the expedition of the boat Bélgica, which obtained two unique specimens of fish in 1904, no one has fished in this sea, although its fauna has been included "without any justification" in the Western Antarctic.

More information: Matallanas, Jesús “Description of Gosztonyia antarctica, a new genus and species of Zoarcidae (Teleostei: Perciformes) from the Antarctic Ocean” Polar Biology 32(1): 15-19 enero 2009

Provided by SINC

Explore further: The influence of the Isthmus of Panama in the evolution of freshwater shrimps in America

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First genome of an Antarctic notothenioid fish sequenced

Nov 10, 2014

Northeastern professor H. William Detrich is part of an international research team that has sequenced the first genome of an Antarctic notothenioid fish. The breakthrough, he said, will shed light on the ...

Australia confident of Antarctic marine reserve in 2015

Nov 01, 2014

Australia said on Saturday it was confident its plans for a marine reserve to protect biodiversity in East Antarctica would succeed next year, after international talks in Hobart failed to agree on the measure.

Plans for Antarctic marine reserves fail again (Update)

Oct 30, 2014

Two marine reserves proposed for Antarctica failed to win approval at international talks in Australia on Friday, campaigners said, adding the decision left one of the world's last untouched wildernesses ...

Fish moving poleward at rate of 26 kilometres per decade

Oct 10, 2014

Large numbers of fish will disappear from the tropics by 2050, finds a new University of British Columbia study that examined the impact of climate change on fish stocks. The study identified ocean hotspots ...

Recommended for you

Dogs hear our words and how we say them

23 hours ago

When people hear another person talking to them, they respond not only to what is being said—those consonants and vowels strung together into words and sentences—but also to other features of that speech—the ...

Amazonian shrimps: An underwater world still unknown

Nov 26, 2014

A study reveals how little we know about the Amazonian diversity. Aiming to resolve a scientific debate about the validity of two species of freshwater shrimp described in the first half of the last century, ...

Factors that drive sexual traits

Nov 26, 2014

Many male animals have multiple displays and behaviours to attract females; and often the larger or greater the better.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.