Researchers from the Aquatic Bioresource Research Lab (ABR Lab) of the Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University have recently discovered a new-to-science species of fish from St Martin's island.
It has been named Pomacentrus bangladeshius (Bengal demoiselle) inspired by the name of the country. In Bangla, the researchers are calling it 'Pettoli' as this is the name by which local fishermen call this group of fish.
The team of three research assistants -- Md Jayedul Islam, Najmun Nahar and Amit Kumer Neogi -- led by Professor Dr Kazi Ahsan Habib, dean of the Faculty of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Science of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University discovered the species.
The research was conducted through a competitive research grant (CRG) of the National Agricultural Technology Program Phase II (NATP-2) project of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC).
The new species was discovered during an investigation on the current biodiversity status of fishes associated to corals of St Martin's Island through a DNA barcode analysis from 2018 to 2019.
Professor Kazi Ahsan Habib said, "We have listed about 150 species of fish that inhabit the coral ecosystem of St Martin's Island. We also used scuba diving to conduct underwater observation. During our research, we found this new species to science which live in shallow reef flats around rock and coral outcrops.
"The new species belongs to family Pomacentridae which are commonly called damselfish. It has a prominent notch present between its preorbital and suborbital, is olive to dark-brown in colour and has a yellow iris with a narrow bronze eye ring."
Talking to The Daily Star, Assistant Professor of Dhaka University's Zoology department said, "This is excellent news for fisheries research and will enrich our marine fish diversity. This kind of research combined with molecular methods should continue in both marine and freshwater bodies as a significant number of fish species have yet to be identified, I believe."
Professor Md Manzoorul Kibria of Chittagong University's Zoology department said "It is certainly positive news to add a new name to the list of Bangladeshi fish. In the country's hilly and coastal regions, we have already discovered some new fish species. In the case of St Martin's island this is definitely a new phenomenon."
This is the second discovery of a new species to science from Bangladeshi waters by the team. The first one was discovered from the Sundarbans. This research was published in the international taxonomic Journal, "Zootaxa".
According to Catalogue of Fish of the California Academy of Science, a total of 422 species of damselfish were identified in the world. Most of the damselfish are up to 15cm in length, but some species reach up to 30cm. Due to their bright colorful appearance, many of these species are used as aquarium pets.
Details about the report can be found here: https://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4860.3.6