Australian researchers have identified a record-setting 20 new fish species in a remote region of Western Australia known as Kimberley. The team’s discoveries, outlined in a report published by the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, are collectively the single biggest addition to Australia’s freshwater fish inventory since official record-keeping began.
The new discovery raises the overall quantity of known species in Australia by about 10 percent. The new fish species fall in one of three categories: There are 16 Terapontidae (grunters), three Eleotridae (gudgeons), and one Atherinidae (hardy heads).
The freshwater ecosystems of the Kimberley are among some of the poorest known and least researched in Australia, say scientists at the University of Melbourne. If the number of known fish species in the region can be doubled in a few short years, researchers say the area must hold much more biodiversity than previously thought.