Monday, March 9, 2009

Ten potential new species of fish discovered

Ten species of fish collected during surveys in the Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary could be new to science.

“Still unidentified, they are potential new species,” said Sarawak Museum curator of natural history Dr Charles Leh.

“These are smaller species which have aquarium value but no commercial value,” he added when asked after presenting his findings on a survey of the fishes in Lanjak Entimau during last year’s scientific expedition at Grand Margherita Hotel here.

He said funds were needed to study the unidentified fish as checks had to be carried out with the original description of the fish specimens in Holland and America.

Leh said the sole new fish species in Lanjak Entimau, which had been described was gastromyzoli katibassenis. It was named after the sanctuary in 2003.

“About 4,000 specimens consisting of 83 species were collected during the two-month survey. Only 10% of these are endemic to Borneo,” he added.

He said many of these fish species were similar to those found in the peninsula and Sumatera, Indonesia. Leh said the studies revealed that in logged-over forest in the sanctuary, the fish diversity had decreased.

However, he said shifting cultivation did not kill the fish as farmers did not use pesticides or chemicals for their crops.



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