Genetic technique discovers three hidden species where one was assumed

Redfish (North Atlantic fish in the genus Sebastes) are highly diverse and notoriously hard to identify. Now, new research shows that the problem is even worse than was thought. The new genetic analysis of microsatellites in rose fish (Sebastes norvegicus) showed that what is currently thought to be a single species, is actually three separate species. One of the new species, the giant version, is larger and has some biological features that can be used to distinguish it; but the other two new species are currently impossible to distinguish by external appearance. The new finding complicates management of redfish in the North Atlantic, because extra care needs to be taken to avoid overexploitation of each of the three species. The research was coauthored by SAFS professor Lorenz Hauser and appears in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

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