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Biology in Action: Newly Discovered Fish Species

26 Mar Posted by in Biology | Comments

Overview:  Newly Discovered Carp Found in Turkey
In March 2013, a new type of freshwater fish was discovered in a stream inside Turkey.   It belongs to the largest family of fish that live in fresh water, the carp or Cyprinidae.  This family of fishes include goldfish, koi, and many different fish that are used for food around many parts of the world.

What Are Carp?
The family of carp, the Cyprinidae, has over 2000 different types of species.  They are native to Europe and Asia, and there is only one type that lives in salt water.  Even those that live in swamp water have to return to fresh water to lay their eggs.  They are a bony type of fish, and have special bones that aid in hearing.  Although most are small, there are a few species that can grow to as much as 3 meters (almost 10 feet) long.

Are Carp Found in the US and Canada?
Carp are not native to the US and Canada, although many species of carp are found in freshwater lakes and streams, besides the many types of ornamental fish such as goldfish and koi. With the many different types of species, they are very common fish.  There are societies of people who fish for recreation that specialize in different types of carp.  Although many types are invasive species, the fish equivalent of weeds, there are other types that are becoming more popular.

Carp Farmed as Food
Although carp are a very bony fish, they are popular as food in Asia, India, parts of Russia, and many parts of Europe.  Carp are a very important food source.    They have been grown in ponds in China for thousands of years, and very detailed descriptions of how to farm carp are part of ancient Chinese history.  There are special hardy species of carp that have been bred as food sources, and are more popular in Asia than salmon and tuna.  In larger fish, the many bones are larger and easier to remove when they are used as food.

How Is The New Species Different?
The new species has been found so far in only one area in Turkey, streams in the basin of Manyas Lake, and it has been named after the area where it was found.   It has rows of black spots, that form a stripe running completely along the length of the fish.  It is about 92 millimeters long (about 3 1/2 inches).  Scientists discover about 2 different species of fish a week, showing biodiversity.

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