Australians Have Accidentally Been Eating A Fish Unknown To Science
It seems the people of Australia have been happily munching away on a species of fish unknown to science. The newly described species is a type of grouper and has been christened Epinephelus fuscomarginatus.
Back in 2000, Queensland Museum fish expert Jeff Johnson was shown photographs of a mystery grouper by a fisherman. Despite seeing more images over the years, he failed to get hold of any physical specimens, as they kept being sold for food. However, in 2017, Johnson came across five of the creatures waiting to be sold at a fish market in Brisbane. He bought the fish and set to work.
“As soon as I saw them, I thought they were probably a new species, so I purchased all five and began the hard work of formally proving they were a new species,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Queensland Museum geneticist Dr Jessica Worthington Wilmer ran some tests in Queensland Museum’s molecular lab and after comparing them with other specimens in various museum collections, had enough evidence to prove it was a new species.
“I’ve been told they are quite tasty,” he added.
The species isn’t that distinctive-looking, which probably explains why it slipped through the net for so many years. It looks pretty unremarkable, sharing similarities with other groupers of the genus Epinephelus. What made it stand out to Johnson, however, was a lack of markings on its body and dark edges around some of its fins – fuscomarginatus means “dark-edged” in Latin.