Accidents happen frequently in the laboratories and scientists often make discoveries that are accidental yet novel. A recent incident gave birth to a long-nosed, spiky-finned hybrid of Russian sturgeon and American paddlefish. A team of Hungarian scientists published a research paper in the journal named Genes, saying that they had accidentally created a hybrid of the two endangered species. The name of the new hybrid fish is “sturddlefish”. There are almost 100 of the hybrids in captivity now. However, scientists have no plan to create any more of this.
Attila Mozsár, a senior research fellow at the Research Institue for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Hungary says that they had no intention to play around with nature’s principle of hybridization. It was absolutely unintentional and was just a result of the accident.
Sturddlefish is the hybrid species made by accident
Russian sturgeons are critically endangered species that are economically important because they are the world’s primary source for caviar. These fishes can grow up to almost 7 feet long (2.1 meters) while living on a diet of mollusks and other crustaceans. While the American paddlefish feed off of zooplankton in the waters of the Mississippi Rivers drainage basin. This is also a fairly large fish which grows up to 8.5 feet long.
— National Center for Science Education (@NCSE) July 18, 2020
Either way, the researchers were able to cross-breed these two species and create something accidentally. Something which was not the goal for these people. The sturddlefish hatched by hundreds and about 100 survive till now. Some of these fishes are 50-50 mixtures of sturgeon as well as paddlefish genes, while some are more sturgeon-like.
All of these fishes are carnivores just like the sturgeon and most of them share the sturgeon’s blunter nose, compared with the American paddlefishes pointy snout. Just like much other hybrid fish the sturddlefish too is not able to have offspring of their own. The most interesting fact here is that fishes separated by 184 million years of evolution can also cross-breed to provide a new hybrid species.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.