Teeny-weeny swamp fish

Scientists have discovered the world's smallest fish on record, in an acidic peat swamp in Indonesia, with a see-through body and a head that is unprotected by a skeleton, researchers say.

    The Indonesian fish is a member of the carp family

    Mature females of the Paedocypris progenetica, a member of the carp family, grow to only 7.9mm and the males have enlarged pelvic fins and exceptionally large muscles that may be used to grasp the females during copulation, researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, published on Wednesday by the Royal Society in London.

     

    Ralf Britz, a zoologist at the Natural History Museum in London, helped analyse the fish's skeleton.

     

    He said: "This is one of the strangest fish that I've seen in my whole career. It's tiny, it lives in acid and it has these bizarre grasping fins. I hope we'll have time to find out more about them before their habitat disappears completely."

     

    Record breaker

     

    The previous record for small size, according to the Natural History Museum in London, was held by an 8mm species of Indo-Pacific goby.

     

    The new fish was discovered on Sumatra island by Maurice Kottelat from Switzerland and Tan Heok Hui from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in Singapore.

     

    Female Paedocypris progenetica
    grow to only 7.9mm in length

    The fish experts were working with colleagues from Indonesia and with Kai-Erik Witte from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

     

    According to the researchers, the fish live in dark, tea-coloured water with an acidity of pH3, at least 100 times more acidic than rainwater.

     

    Swamps like this were once thought to harbour very few animals, but recent research has shown that they are highly diverse and home to many species that occur nowhere else.

     

    Peat swamps are under threat in Indonesia from fires lit by plantation owners and farmers as well as unchecked development and farming. Several populations of Paedocypris have already been lost, researchers at the Natural History Museum say.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?