Glaucostegus younholeei (Bangladeshi guitarfish), a new marine fish species discovered in Bangladesh
Researchers from Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University have discovered a formerly unknown species of fish from Cox’s Bazar coast of the Bay of Bengal.
A team from the university’s Aquatic Bioresource Research Lab discovered the new-to-science fish. Known as ‘Pitambori’ by local anglers, the fish has been named Glaucostegus younholeei (Bangladeshi guitarfish). The new species was discovered during an investigation on the current biodiversity status of Elasmobranch fishes of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh from 2019 to 2021.
Alongside Prof Habib, the team is comprised of research assistants: Md Jayedul Islam, ex-student of Zoology, Jagannath University, Dhaka. Prof Habib is currently serving as Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Marine Science at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. This research was carried out through an Elasmobranch research project funded by the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh. This is the third new species of marine fishes discovered from Bangladeshi waters by the team. This research was published in the international taxonomic journal “Zootaxa”. Authors said, “We have found a species of guitarfish that confused with another guitarfish (Granulated guitarfish) rarely found in our area. The new species is distinguished from other related species by having a strongly pointed snout, small nostrils about half of the mouth width, very small orbit, and small maturation size of the male specimen.
The new species belongs to the Glaucostegidae family, which are commonly called Giant guitarfish and belong to the order Rhinopristiformes. Generally, they occur in warm temperate and tropical oceans, inshore to well offshore on continental and insular shelves and slopes. They are exclusively inhabitants of marine waters except for two species, Giant shovelnose ray and Blackchin guitarfish which sometimes move to the fresh and brackish water. Giant guitarfishes are bottom-dwellers and usually rest on, or lie partly buried within soft mud or sandy sediments, rather than active swimming in midwater.
According to this publication, there are 8 species of giant guitarfish presents all over the world. Except for two species, all of the giant guitarfish occur in the Indian ocean. According to IUCN 2021, species of the Giant guitarfish are critically endangered. We should take the urgent initiative to conserve this ecologically important species group.
Bangladesh is more rich in fish diversity
The Prothom Alo
April 14, 2021
Bengali in fish and rice — this proverb is enough to highlight the abundance of fish in Bangladesh. According to the United Nations, Bangladesh ranked third in the world in freshwater fish production last year. But still, dissatisfaction remains. Because Bangladesh was far behind in the diversity of fish species.
However, that dissatisfaction has also subsided somewhat. Because experts say, the number of fish diversity in the country has increased a lot in 50 years. In all, the number of freshwater and marine fish species in the country is now more than one thousand.
According to the latest figures of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) (2019), there are 589 species of fish in Bangladesh. As such, Bangladesh ranks 100th among 221 countries and islands in the world in terms of fish species diversity. However, the updated data prepared by a team of researchers led by Kazi Ahsan Habib, Dean, Faculty of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Science, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, says that there are only 640 species of marine fish in the country. Meanwhile, there are 284 official freshwater fish species in the country. Adding these two calculations, the number of fish species in Bangladesh stands at 1006.
The research team, led by Kazi Ahsan Habib, has updated the list based on surveys conducted over the past 50 years on the diversity of marine fish in the country. For this, they have reviewed various research articles, related books, and research reports published in local and foreign journals. The latest research report is published in the latest issue of the Bangladesh Journal of Fisheries, an internationally recognized fishing journal from Bangladesh. The Fisheries Society of Bangladesh, an organization of people involved in research and development in fisheries, has been publishing this bi-monthly magazine since 1986. The latest issue was published on December 31.
Kazi Ahsan Habib told Prothom Alo, “Every year someone discovers new species of fish in the waters of the country. We have got this calculation by adding the lists of fish till 2020. A full survey may increase the number of species.
As per the UN Environment Program, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives are ahead of Bangladesh in South Asia in fish diversity. With 2,563 species, India tops the list in South Asia. The country is 11th in the global list. Sri Lanka ranks 32nd in the global list with 1,125 species. And Maldives is the 33rd country in the world with 1,122 species.
For details: The Prothom Alo
Researchers of ABR Lab have discovered 4 newly recorded species from the Sundarbans, Bangladesh. More importantly, they have also discovered a new species of Chelonodon genus. Their discovery has been featured in Prothom Alo (the most popular national newspaper of the country).
Rajib Hasan, Dhaka.Published: 23 February 2020