April 02, 2008

A new fish family?

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham

It looks like this handsome fellow...

...might just represent a newly discovered family of anglerfishes, according to Burke Curator of Fishes Ted Pietsch, one of the world's leading authorities on anglerfishes.

Though its missing the tell-tale prey-attracting lure that usually sprouts from anglerfishes' heads, the fish's eyes, flat-face, and leglike pectoral fins clued Dr. Pietsch in that this is most likely an anglerfish.

Pending DNA and morphology studies to confirm this classification, this fish could represent the first new family of anglerfishes described in a long, long time. In fact, according to Dr. Pietsch, in
the last 50 years, scientists have described only five new families of fishes and none of them were even remotely related to anglerfishes.

Read more about its discovery over at uwnews.org.

- Rebecca

Photo by
M. Snyder, starknakedfish.com/divingmaluku.com.