Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Discover New Species Of Fish In Antarctic

What's 34 centimeters (13.39 inches) long, likes the cold and has an interorbital pit with two openings? The answer is Cryothenia amphitreta, a newly discovered Antarctic fish discovered by a member of a research team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The new species of nototheniid fish, Cryothenia amphitreta, is detailed in the December issue of the quarterly journal Copeia. Paul A. Cziko, a research specialist who had graduated with bachelor's degrees in animal biology and biochemistry from Illinois six months earlier, and research diver Kevin Hoefling, discovered it in McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica in November 2004.

They were diving in the area in search of eggs laid by naked dragonfish (Gymnodraco acuticeps) for a study, published earlier this year, about levels of antifreeze proteins in newly hatched notothenioids in the salty icy waters where the temperature is rarely above the freezing point of seawater.

"We just came across this fish," Cziko recalled. "It was just sitting on the bottom, like most other fish in the area. There are only about a dozen species that swim in the area, with four to five easily distinguishable species. This one jumped out at us. First of all it was pretty big, and it looked quite different than the others."

Cziko and Hoefling guided the egg-laden fish into a mesh bag and surfaced.

"It was about twice as big as what you normally see swimming around," said Arthur L. DeVries, a professor of animal biology who many years earlier had discovered antifreeze proteins in notothenioids. "Its profile was much different than other common local notothenioids. Its center part is much higher. Most of the other species in the area have big heads and have bodies that taper back narrowly."

Cziko and co-author Chi-Hing (Christina) Cheng, professor of animal biology, studied the purple-gold-colored fish, comparing its measurements and perch-like appearance with all known species of fish that inhabit the icy waters of Antarctica. X-ray radiographs of bone structures were taken at the U. of I. College of Veterinary Medicine.

The new fish, which DeVries theorizes may have been looking for a place to lay its eggs in a flat, clear area near an intake pipe that feeds water into the McMurdo Station, was placed into the genus Cryothenia because of its overall similarity to the notothenioid Cryothenia peninsulae that has only been found near the Antarctica Peninsula.

Although bigger in pelvic-fin length and body size, as well as having more vertebrae, what sets C amphitreta apart from C. peninsulae is head morphology, specifically in the area between the eyes.

The new fish has a "wide, well-defined, two-holed interorbital pit divided by a raised medial ridge, scales anterior to this depression in the interorbital region, and a dark pigmentation of the mouth, gill and body cavity linings," Cziko and Cheng wrote.

The species name was chosen to help researchers easily distinguish the two species in the genus Cryothenia, which translates from Greek as "from the cold," while amphitreta literally means "an orifice with two openings."

"Even though we know a lot about Antarctica," Cziko said, "we still don't know everything about the ecosystems and the animals in them. There's probably a lot more to be learned about how these fish evolved and survived."

The area where C. amphitreta was found is the most-frequented location in McMurdo Sound explored by divers and fished with hand lines. DeVries has been going to the site for more than 40 years.

The new fish was located on a large flat rock in water that was minus 1.91 degrees Celsius and 20 meters deep.

"Art has been swimming there for more than 40 years," Cziko said. "You'd think he would have caught everything." DeVries does have an Antarctic fish named after him: Paraliparis devriesii.

National Science Foundation grants to Cheng and DeVries funded the research.

Editor's notes: To reach Paul Cziko: e-mail

To reach Chi-Heng (Christina) Cheng, call 217-333-4245; e-mail:

The original draft of this news release was written by Jim Barlow, who has since become the director of science communications for the University of Oregon.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:

Further reports about: Cryothenia Cziko DeVries amphitreta notothenioid

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>