Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tuna closely related to some of the strangest fish in the sea

Date:
September 13, 2013
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Some of the strangest fish in the sea are closely related to dinner table favorites the tunas and mackerels, an international team of scientists has found.

Bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus.
Credit: lunamarina / Fotolia

Some of the strangest fish in the sea are closely related to dinner table favourites the tunas and mackerels, an international team including Oxford University scientists has found.

Deep sea fish such as the black swallower, with an extendable stomach that enables it to eat fish larger than itself, and manefishes, some sporting spiky fins like a Mohican haircut, are close cousins to mackerels and tuna despite having completely different body shapes and lifestyles.

The team, led by Dr Masaki Miya at Chiba Natural History Museum in Japan, suggests that this extended family of fishes might owe its success today to the devastating extinction that marked the demise of dinosaurs and many other creatures 66 million years ago.

The researchers report in the journal PLOS ONE this week how they combined DNA analysis of over 5,000 modern fish species with fossil evidence to solve the mystery of which species were closest to tunas and mackerels in the fish family tree.

'What was immediately clear from our result is that the extended family of tunas and mackerels is made up of fishes that all look very different from one another, with different ways of life, but which share one key trait: they all dwell in the open ocean,' said Dr Miya of Chiba Natural History Museum. 'This had been suggested before, but we were able to show that many additional groups of fishes inhabiting the open ocean -- called the pelagic realm -- were closely related to one another and to tunas.'

Reflecting this preference for the open ocean the team has called the extended tuna family tree: 'Pelagia'. Although they share a preference for open-ocean habitats, members of Pelagia show radically different ways of life ranging from deep-sea fishes that live inside sac-like invertebrates to speedy, shallow-water predators such as the tuna.

'Discovering that such radically different fish species are related is a bit like finding that a seal is more closely related to a cat than it is to a walrus!' said Dr Matt Friedman of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences, a co-author of the PLOS ONE paper. 'By comparing genetic data with fossil evidence we were able to show that the origins of all these disparate groups lie in a period of rapid evolution that occurred around 65 million years ago. This is significant because this is when the Cretaceous extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs also killed off many groups of large fishes inhabiting the open ocean.

'It's likely that the common ancestor of this family lived in the deep ocean, helping it to survive this ancient extinction. It then emerged from its refuge to diversify and colonise the shallower waters to produce the profusion of related, but very different, species we see today.'

According to the team the new findings suggest a different way of thinking about past extinctions.

'We tend to think of extinction events as damaging diversity but in fact they always offer opportunities for other species -- for example, we mammals famously took advantage when the dinosaurs died out,' said Dr Friedman. 'What our study shows is that while extinctions sweep away old diversity they also see a new kind of diversity rapidly, at least on an evolutionary timescale, flooding in.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Masaki Miya, Matt Friedman, Takashi P. Satoh, Hirohiko Takeshima, Tetsuya Sado, Wataru Iwasaki, Yusuke Yamanoue, Masanori Nakatani, Kohji Mabuchi, Jun G. Inoue, Jan Yde Poulsen, Tsukasa Fukunaga, Yukuto Sato, Mutsumi Nishida. Evolutionary Origin of the Scombridae (Tunas and Mackerels): Members of a Paleogene Adaptive Radiation with 14 Other Pelagic Fish Families. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (9): e73535 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073535

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Tuna closely related to some of the strangest fish in the sea." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913093913.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2013, September 13). Tuna closely related to some of the strangest fish in the sea. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913093913.htm
University of Oxford. "Tuna closely related to some of the strangest fish in the sea." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130913093913.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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