Two new species of fish discovered in Galapagos

The described fish are commonly known as grunts.

EFE via El Tiempo
16 de junio 2021, 11:12

Photo: EFE

Ecuadorian, Mexican and American researchers have described the discovery of two new species of fish in the Galapagos archipelago and the Eastern Tropical Pacific, which could shed light on the biological connection provided by the Coco-Galapagos marine mountain range.

Recently published in the scientific journal Zootaxa, researchers from the Michoacana University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Mexico), the Autonomous University of Baja California (USA), the National Institute of Biodiversity of Ecuador (Inabio), and the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.

The two new species described belong to the genus Anisotremus and were named as A. Perezponcedeleoni sp. north, located in the Revillagigedo archipelago, while the second, A. espinozai from the Galápagos and Isla del Coco archipelagos, is named in honor of the park ranger who contributed to the discovery, Eduardo Espinoza.

“These two new species not only cover the Galapagos, but the entire Eastern Tropical Pacific,” said the director of the Galapagos National Park, Danny Rueda. The species located in the marine reserve of the Ecuadorian islands, inhabits an underwater mountain range that connects the Galapagos with the island of Cocos in Costa Rica.

For this reason, Rueda assures that thanks to the study, “it can be scientifically confirmed that this mountain range connects between the two island systems.”

The phylogenetic studies carried out in the investigation reveal the presence of a complex species with at least three distinctive lineages among the populations of these families of fish inhabiting the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

The two species found are related to a known species, Anisotremus interruptus, present in this underwater mountain range of volcanic origin. The head of the National Park considered that the “fragmentation of marine specificity that we have in Galapagos, allows us to diversify and confirm that Anisotremus interruptus generated a new species,” presumably millions of years ago.

And he clarified that the difference between the well-known species and the one recently described is in the position of the dorsal and ventral fins; additionally, that the new species has a flattened head. “But what verifies the new species is the genetic study, which has taken four years,” he added.

The Galapagos marine reserve has registered around 3,500 species and this discovery would be the first made of non-major species in the marine environment of the National Park, according to Rueda. The described fish are commonly known as “grunts” because when they are taken out of the water they emit a noise very similar to snoring.

They live at a depth of up to 2,500 meters in rocky marine habitats and they can measure from 25 to 30 centimeters as adults; their lifespan is between five and fifteen years, although this last fact has yet to be confirmed with new studies.

Read the original coverage from El Tiempo at

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© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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