FunNature & AnimalUnusual new species of fish found in China

Unusual new species of fish found in China

Described in the journal Zoological Research , this rare creature nestled within the genus Pegasidae, a family of marine fish in the order Gasterosteiformes, belongs to the species of dragonfish, a small family of ray-finned fish.

There are only seven species of dragonfish in two genera, Pegasus and Eurypegasus . They are widely distributed in the temperate and tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, from South Africa to Hawaii.

These creatures are visually striking: their bodies are flattened with large wing-like fins, a very long snout, and a body encased in thick bony plates. Members of the genus Pegasus (named after a creature from Greek mythology) differ from Eurypegasus in that they have more tail rings, from 11 to 14.

How is the new species?

The newly discovered species of dragonfish has been dubbed Pegasus sinensis, or Chinese dragonfish, and is only known from Xiamen Bay, Fujian Province, China. This fish is about 7.3 cm long and has a light brown to beige body covered in dark brown to black spots.

“Based on the mitochondrial genomes of three newly sequenced dragonfish (or seamoths) used in our study, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of Pegasidae,” explained Ying-Yi Zhang, a researcher at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology and University of China. of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and lead author of the study. “We reveal that Pegasus sinensis and Pegasus volitans diverged from their common ancestor approximately 9 million years ago.”

Reference: Ying-Yi Zhang et al. 2022. A new seamoth species of Pegasus (Syngnathiformes: Pegasidae) from the East China Sea. Zoological Research 43 (4): 675-678; doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.109

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