Scientists in Hungary didn’t expect to create an entirely new hybrid fish species when they successfully bred two endangered species, all they set out to do was find out of the fish could be bred in captivity.
When the all-new ‘Sturddlefish’ was born and made it to adulthood they were straight-up shocked. They’d successfully bred an endangered American Paddlefish with an endangered Russian Sturgeon. And they didn’t do it with just one fish, they created ‘hundreds of offspring’ using these freakish parent fish.
Not to be lost in any of this is the two endangered species they used to create the Sturddlefish are two of the weirdest looking fish on the planet. Both the American Paddlefish and Russian Sturgeon look like something you’d expect a little kid to draw with crayons if you asked them to draw you an alien. The American Paddlefish has a massive paddle and a squat body. The Russian Sturgeon has an armored body and they look like water dragons and grow to MASSIVE sizes.
Here we see the Russian Sturgeon at the top, American Paddlefish in the middle, and the Sturddlefish at the bottom:
The announcement of this new creation was published in a new study in the journal Genes, according to CBS:
“This was the first successful hybridization between these two species and between members of the family Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae,” researchers wrote.
Using gynogenesis, a method of asexual reproduction that requires the presence of sperm but not the actual contribution of its DNA, researchers said they inadvertently used paddlefish sperm to fertilize sturgeon eggs. They managed to create hundreds of offspring.
“We never wanted to play around with hybridization,” co-author Dr. Attila Mozsár told The New York Times. “It was absolutely unintentional.”
Both the American Paddlefish and the Russian Sturgeon are critically endangered — neither would be able to successfully reproduce in the wild. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Natures, sturgeon, whose eggs are used for caviar, are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” Habitat loss, overfishing and pollution are all to blame. (via CBS)
— CNN (@CNN) July 22, 2020
Hungarian researchers have accidentally made a new species of fish ~✨Sturddlefish✨~ by combining sturgeon and paddlefish.
— Adahop 🚀🏳️⚧️ BLM (@AdahopAlex) July 22, 2020
Another wild thing about this is both endangered species are often called ‘living fossils’ because they are so ancient and haven’t really evolved in the past hundred or so million years. They date back to the time of dinosaurs. If you’ve been reading BroBible for long enough you’ve surely seen me refer to Sturgeon as dinosaurs before. Sturgeon can also regularly live over 100-years.
The researchers believe Sturddlefish are infertile which isn’t at all surprising when crossbreeding species. You can read up on this bizarre new species and how the DNA of the parents was split across the offspring over on the CBS article if you’re interested in learning more about Sturddlefish.