20 new freshwater fish species discovered in Australia

Melbourne University researchers have been given the honor of naming one of 20 new species of fish discovered in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Author Tim Winton will also be naming one of the species, according to a report from ABC.net.

Marine biologists Stephen Swearer and Tim Dempster along with other researchers utilized cameras and lures to draw the fish out so that they could be filmed and caught in nets for study.

"Some of these fish you look at the photo in the field guide you look at this fish and you go there was no way this fish could be this sort of species," said Swearer to ABC.net.

Australia has nearly 200 species of freshwater fish. These latest additions will increase biodiversity by 10 percent. The new fish types are descendants of three families: grunters, gudgeons and hardy heads. Many of the fish measure in at 30 to 35 centimeters in length. As such, "they would have been important food fish and probably still are important food fish to Aborigines of the Kimberley," said Dempster to ABC.net.

The team plans on naming all of the species in 2016, predominantly after Aboriginal locations. Winton will have the opportunity to name one of the species.

“When I first heard about this little fish the greenie in me thought 'I wonder what kind of fish it is and I wonder what its habits are and habitat is' and the redneck in me thought 'I wonder what it tastes like'," Winton said of the discovery.

This discovery is being lauded by some as the greatest addition to fish science in the country, reported ABC.net.


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