Posted October 24, 2018 14:19:58 New species of fish found on a reef off the south-western Queensland town of Mount Isa have been named.
Key points:Scientists say the reef has been under pressure since the 1980sThe fish were previously thought to have been in a protected areaBut they have now been named after the man who discovered themThe fish are named after John Smith, who was first to discover them in 1983A group of scientists from the Queensland Museum and Botanic Gardens and the University of Queensland say they have discovered new species of reef fish in the area.
“They are a new species that are not yet identified,” said Paul Gidley, an assistant professor in the University’s Department of Marine Biology.
“It is a bit of a surprise to us but we’ve been seeing this sort of thing for a long time, and it’s a bit like the big bang.”
We don’t know how long this has been going on or how many years it has been happening.
“Mr Gidly said the discovery of the new species was very significant.”
In the case of the other species we’ve seen so far, it has just been in one place and we haven’t really seen anything else,” he said.”
There’s been no one to look at it since.
“The new species have not been named but are described as a type of “sea squirt”.
The Queensland Museum’s aquatic sciences professor and marine biology specialist, Dr Paul Jones, said the fish had long been believed to be in protected areas, but a small team of researchers found them on a remote beach in the region in October.”
The beach was being drained when the reef was first discovered and when the team discovered it they had a really good idea that they were in the protected area, which is where they were initially found,” he told ABC News.”
And so we had a bit more certainty and a bit better sense of what the reef is like.
“Dr Jones said the species had only been named recently because of the importance of the research.”
John Smith was the first to find them, and he had just discovered them in the 1980’s, so they were very far out of the area,” he explained.”
But there are many other people who had found them before them, so it is an interesting group of reef animals.
“He said the team were able to collect the fish by using a hook attached to a long fishing line to trap the fish in a net.”
At the time of the discovery it was in the middle of a huge sandbar, and the reef in the bay was being really drained,” he continued.”
So the net was just hanging from the side of the net and we had to pull the fish through the net to get them out.
“Dr Gidleys team were unable to identify the species, and were not able to tell whether it was a juvenile or a mature.”
That is a very good indication of its age, but it is just a guess because the age and the size of the fish are just a bit unknown,” he added.
The researchers are now working to identify and name the species.”
You can imagine the thrill of finding something so new,” Dr Jones said.
Topics:fish,aquatic-biology,fisheries,reservoirs-and-wetlands,rockhampton-4700,mount-isa-4720,rockingham-4740Contact: [email protected] stories from Queensland