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ICAR Discovers Two New Species of Seer Fish in Indian Waters

ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) researchers have identified two more species of seer fish, which is one of the most valued fish.

Aysha Anam
Photo Courtesy: ICAR
Photo Courtesy: ICAR

ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) researchers have found two new species of the top-demanding seer fish species in Indian waters.

Two New Seer Fish Discovered 

They discovered one species named Arabian sparrow seer fish (Scomberomorus avirostrus) as entirely new to science and resurrected the other, Russell’s spotted seer fish (Scomberomorus leopardus) which was previously a synonym of the spotted seer fish.

According to the findings by a team of taxonomists led by Dr E M Abdussamad, Principal Scientist of ICAR-CMFRI, the spotted seer fish (Scomberomorus guttatus) that was once considered a single species, is a complex of three distinct species. These include the newly discovered seer fish, the resurrected seer fish, and the existing spotted seer fish. With this finding, the total number of top-demanding seer fish species in Indian waters rose to six from the existing four species.

This discovery emerged from a comprehensive taxonomic study on spotted seer fish found along the Indian coast. The study highlighted considerable divergence in the morphometry and genetic structure of these fishes collected from different regions of the coast.

The new species was given the common name of Arabian sparrow seer fish by the ICAR-CMFRI team, owing to its typical bird-beak-like snout. This inhabits the Arabian Sea coast north of Mangalore and its distribution extends up to the Arabian Gulf based on the available scientific information. Distribution of the other two was along the Bay of Bengal coast north of Nagapattinam, including the Andaman Seas, and China Sea.

These three seer fish species are smaller in size compared to their counterparts and are mostly found in nearshore waters. Their tasty flavour and high market value make them a prized catch.

Potential to Marine Fisheries

“This is a significant achievement that adds to our understanding of marine biodiversity and has the potential to contribute to the country's marine fisheries sector in several ways”, said Dr Abdussamad. This achievement represents a significant milestone in marine taxonomy and fisheries research, shedding light on the rich and diverse marine life along the Indian coast, he said.

These are the fourth and fifth species in the series discovered and gifted by the team to science.

Their previous findings include one new species each of barracuda, chub mackerel, and queenfish.

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