Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetics Reveals Big Fish That Almost Got Away

Date:
August 21, 2008
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
A new species of fish has been discovered -- a grouper that reaches more than six feet in length and can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds. This newly discovered species can be found roaming the tropical reefs of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

A new genetic study by the University of Hawaii, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others has found that there are two species of goliath grouper instead of one.
Credit: Rachel Graham/Wildlife Conservation Society

Researchers from the University of Hawaii, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, National Marine Fisheries Service and Projecto Meros do Brazil discovered a new species of fish—a grouper that reaches more than six feet in length and can weigh nearly 1,000 pounds. This newly discovered species can be found roaming the tropical reefs of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Was the massive fish hiding among the corals and sea grass to evade marine biologists? No, it was just a case of mistaken identity, as explained in a recent genetic study in the journal Endangered Species Research.

It turns out that goliath in the Atlantic—which inhabit the tropical waters of the Americas and western Africa—are not the same groupers that swim in Pacific waters, even though they look identical.

"For more than a century, ichthyologists have thought that Pacific and Atlantic goliath grouper were the same species, and the argument was settled before the widespread use of genetic techniques. The genetic data were the key to our finding: two species, one on each side of the isthmus.," said Dr. Matthew Craig of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, lead author of the study.

Because the two populations of grouper are identical in body form and markings, they were both considered part of the same species: Epinephelus itajara. About three-and-a-half million years ago—before the Caribbean and the Pacific became separated by present-day Panama—they were the same species.

Since that time, the two populations have evolved into genetically distinct populations. While testing the hypothesis that Pacific and West Atlantic grouper were the same species, the research team found significant differences in the DNA from both populations. The differences indicate that the two populations have effectively evolved into two separate species after being separated from one another by Central America. The new Pacific species is now classified as Epinephelus quinquefasciatus. E. itajara is currently listed as critically endangered to extinction in the World Conservation Union's Red List of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora. Due to its scarcity, E. quinquefasciatus may also be considered critically endangered.

"In light of our new findings, the Pacific goliath grouper should be treated with separate management and conservation strategies," said WCS researcher Dr. Rachel Graham, a co-author on the study and convener of the first International Symposium on Goliath grouper which provided the impetus for this highly collaborative study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Genetics Reveals Big Fish That Almost Got Away." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821110125.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2008, August 21). Genetics Reveals Big Fish That Almost Got Away. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821110125.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Genetics Reveals Big Fish That Almost Got Away." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821110125.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) — Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins