Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two new species of pancake batfishes discovered from area engulfed by oil spill

Date:
July 8, 2010
Source:
American Museum of Natural History
Summary:
Two new species of fish from the Gulf of Mexico that walk on their fins and sit-and-wait for prey are described in a new research paper. This highlights the undescribed biodiversity of the area effected by the Gulf oil spill.

The new species of batfish, Halieutichthys intermedius, lives in the waters completely encompassed by the Gulf oil spill.
Credit: Ho, Chakrabarty & Sparks (2010)

Although the Gulf of Mexico has been intensively surveyed by scientists and picked over by fishermen, it is still home to fishes that are waiting to be described. New research published in the Journal of Fish Biology describes two new species of pancake batfishes (Halieutichthys intermedius and H. bispinosus) and re-describes another (H. aculeatus), all of which live in waters either partially or fully encompassed by the recent oil spill.

Related Articles


"One of the fishes that we describe is completely restricted to the oil spill area," says John Sparks, curator of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History. "If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine how much diversity -- especially microdiversity -- is out there that we do not know about."

Pancake batfishes are members of the anglerfish family Ogcocephalidae, a group of about 70 species of flat bottom-dwellers that often live in deep, perpetually dark waters. Pancake batfishes have enormous heads and mouths that can thrust forward. This, combined with their ability to cryptically blend in with their surroundings, gives them an advantage for capturing prey. They use their stout, arm-like fins to 'walk' awkwardly along the substrate; their movements have been described as grotesque, resembling a walking bat. As most anglerfishes, batfishes have a dorsal fin that is modified into a spine or lure, although their lure excretes a fluid to reel in prey instead of bio-illuminating.

The pancake batfishes described by Sparks and colleagues, genus Halieutichthys , live in shallower waters than most batfishes and occur along the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic from Louisiana to North Carolina. Until now, the currently described three fishes had been lumped into one species, since they all have similar coloration and body shape.

But there are several differences. The three species are distinguished by the size, shape (blunt or sharp), and arrangement of tubercles on the body; the presence or absence of dark bands on the pectoral fin; and the unique reticulate pigmentation patterns on the dorsal body surface. H. aculeatus, the re-described species, is characterized by a comparatively sparse arrangement of spiny tubercles and is distributed along the northeastern gulf coast as well as along the Florida, Georgia, and Carolina coasts. H. bispinosus is a newly described species with a characteristic pattern of densely arranged spiny tubercles covering the body and a geographic distribution similar to H. aculeatus. Finally, H. intermedius, the second newly described species, has a smooth, non-spiny dorsal surface and a geographic distribution that mirrors the current range of the Gulf oil spill. This last species does not have a known population outside of the Gulf of Mexico.

"These discoveries underscore the potential loss of undocumented biodiversity that a disaster of this scale may portend," says Sparks.

In addition to Sparks, authors include Hsuan-Ching Ho of the Biodiversity Research Center of Academica Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan and Prosanta Chakrabarty of the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Lakeside Foundation, and the Lerner-Gray Fund for Marine Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Museum of Natural History. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Museum of Natural History. "Two new species of pancake batfishes discovered from area engulfed by oil spill." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111206.htm>.
American Museum of Natural History. (2010, July 8). Two new species of pancake batfishes discovered from area engulfed by oil spill. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111206.htm
American Museum of Natural History. "Two new species of pancake batfishes discovered from area engulfed by oil spill." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111206.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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