posted on May, 25 2010 @ 07:18 PM
These fish, pardon the pun, need a hand. There are 14 species of fish with hand-like fins. And nine are in danger of extinction. Don't you hate it
when you discover something amazing, only to find out that it's almost gone? Even though Endangered Species Day was just a few days ago, it's always
amazing to learn of new species that are endangered.
Such is the case here. CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Australia, says nine new species of handfish are
described in research that says there's an urgent need to better understand and protect the diversity of life in our oceans. The Pink Handfish, shown
above, is one of the newly named species. It's known from only four specimens and was last recorded off the Tasman Peninsula in 1999.
"Handfishes are small, often strikingly patterned or colourful, sedentary fish that tend to 'walk' on the seabed on hand-like fins, rather than
swim," according to Daniel Gledhill, a taxonomist with the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship.
"Fifty million-years ago, they 'walked' the world's oceans, but now they exist only off eastern and southern Australia."
What's going on? Peter Last from CSIRO says handfish are extremely vulnerable to environmental change, including introduced species, pollution,
siltation, fishing, sea-temperature rise and coastal development.