STATES CHRONICLE – A research team made up of Japanese and Australian scientists managed to discover a new species of sunfish. This species remained unknown for around 300 years, and was the first discovery of a fish belonging to this species in the past 130 years. This is different from other sunfish both genetically and physically.
What are sunfish?
Sunfish are among the heaviest fish with bones, and can weigh over 2000 kg. Also, they can reach 3 meters in length or even more. The fact that this specimen remained unknown until now is explained by its preference to live in solitary places, deep in the sea.
This new sunfish was found in the waters near New Zealand. Initially, the research team took 150 samples from different specimens, and identified four distinct species. Only three of them have been seen earlier, and they were already fit in a category. The fourth one, however, made its first documented appearance ever.
The newly discovered fish is different from all the other related specimens
Researchers had to come up with a name for this creature, so they decided to name it Mola tecta. This is derived from tectus, which is Latin for “disguised” or “hidden”. It also needed a non-scientific name, so researchers nicknamed it the hoodwinker sunfish.
About four years after they discovered this species, a fishery from New Zealand called the scientists and told them they discovered a peculiar fish. Indeed, this specimen looked similar to the hoodwinker breed, and the DNA analysis confirmed it belonged to the same species.
Now, they want to use satellite tagging to identify the areas populated by these hoodwinker sunfish. Afterwards, they will keep these areas under observation and find out more about their feeding habits and their distribution.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons