Tags: red handfish

Red Handfish Found on New Site; Population Estimate Doubles to 80

The endangered red handfish has been found in a second habitat. (YouTube/IMAS)

By    |   Friday, 26 January 2018 04:50 PM

Extremely rare red handfish have been found at a second site in southeast Tasmania, doubling the population estimate for the fish to 80.

Before last week, the rare fish were thought to exist only around one reef about 150 feet long in Frederick Henry Bay, The Guardian reported. Divers near a reef a few miles away found that it, too, housed the unusual fish. Scientists said it was possible that more of the fish existed in other locations as well.

Unlike most fish, handfish have long fins with fingerlike projectiles that they use to push themselves along the ocean floor almost like they are walking. Red handfish are only a few inches long and only swim about one to two feet at a time, so they can easily become isolated from others along the sea floor, The Guardian reported.

The red handfish are the rarest of three species of handfish in Tasmania, all of which are critically endangered. One other type, Ziebell’s handfish, is now believed to be extinct, The Guardian reported.

Red handfish have red coloring along their fins and face, and look like they have a Mohawk, Live Science reported. Their population is thought to have declined due to habitat degradation, invasive species, and pollution. The fish sometimes lay their eggs on green algae, which is eaten in the area by a sea urchin whose numbers have grown recently.

Researchers were looking into starting a captive breeding program for the species because of the bigger numbers, The Guardian reported.

Twitter users were happy to hear of the discovery.

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Extremely rare red handfish have been found at a second site in southeast Tasmania, doubling the vulnerable species' population estimate to 80.
red handfish
Friday, 26 January 2018 04:50 PM
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