Researchers have been studying cave fish, the first ever to be discovered in Europe. These are quite a lucky find as they were first spotted by hobby divers. They found the fish in an underground cavern situated in southern Germany.
According to preliminary research, these loaches may also be the as yet most northerly species of cave fish ever detected. The team believes that they split from their surface-dwelling relatives sometime in the last 20,000 years. A study paper on the matter was released in the Current Biology journal.
“We never would have expected something like this so there may be some other things out there.” This is according to Dr. Behrmann-Godel, one of the study researchers.
The European Cave Fish, Spotted Back In 2015, Was A Chance Discovery
This new research wouldn’t have been possible were it not for a chance discovery. A hobby diver was exploring the Danube-Aach cave system. Back in 2015, he first spotted such a specimen and managed to snap its photo. Then, he also managed to capture one, which fiinally led to this new study.
The researchers carried out a variety of analyses, including genetic ones. These revealed the close relation between the cave fish and the stone loaches swimming in the nearby waters. This has given rise to a number of questions, including the following: Should these cave dwelling fish be a new species, or not?
The German-based cave fish are a pinkish color and have no scales. Also, their skin is quite translucent, as the researchers are able to see the blood vessels running underneath it. They also seem to have a declining vision, one which would fit with their environmental conditions. As it is, more studies on the matter are still needed.
Also, according to the team, these may not be the last such species discovered in the German caves, as research in the area will most likely continue.
Image Source: Flickr
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