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New fish species discovered in Taiwan-controlled Penghu Islands

06/11/2024 05:23 PM
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The newly found "frozen jawfish." Photo courtesy of marine food education group "Fish says" June 11, 2024
The newly found "frozen jawfish." Photo courtesy of marine food education group "Fish says" June 11, 2024

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) A fish discovered in Taiwan's outlying Penghu County has been confirmed to be a new species by Taiwanese marine biologist Ho Hsuan-ching (何宣慶), according to a statement released Tuesday.

The finding was made during a university social responsibility (USR) program promoting marine education and interdisciplinary collaboration, hosted by National Penghu University of Science and Technology professor Lin Po-an (林寶安), who released the statement.

Ho's research team joined the program along with a local marine food education group named "Fish says" (年年有鰆).

The fish was found while Ho, an associate professor at the National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, collected fish samples that washed up onto Chikan Beach, located in the northeast of Penghu's Baisha Township, during a cold snap in February 2022 with his team.

The statement quoted Ho as saying that he named the fish "frozen jawfish" (冷鋒後頷鱚) to reflect how the discovery was made in cold temperatures.

Ho also said that jawfish are rare in Taiwan and that any sample found would be collected for research purposes.

The jawfish has distinct patterns and was initially unidentifiable until its features were compared with another unnamed jawfish previously discovered by a U.S. scholar. The two were later confirmed to be the same species, the statement said.

After acquiring the scholar's consent, Ho's team made the discovery public, the statement said.

There are more than 90 species of jawfish around the world, according to the statement. Of those, 11 are found in Taiwan.

Common in coral reefs, these fish are named for their large jaws, which sometimes extend beyond their gill covers. Males keep their eggs in their mouths until they hatch.

The discovery will be published on ZooKeys, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal that covers zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography, the statement added.

(By Chen Chi-ching and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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