The King demoiselle (Chrysipetra rex) is not just one type of fish, but three distinct groups that recently split from each other, according to a new study.
Samples from three separate populations were sent to Joshua Drew, a marine conservation biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and this is what he found:
In his lab, Drew analyzed the samples for three genes one that has evolved slowly, and two that have changed rapidly through time. His results showed a clear pattern: The genes that have changed quickly look different from one geographical group to the next, indicating that the groups only recently began to split.
“That means that this little fish we thought was broadly distributed has a mosaic of individual populations and each one is genetically distinct,” said Drew, whose study has been accepted for publication in the journal Coral Reefs. “That highlights how little we really know about how biodiversity on Earth is distributed.”
Question: Since coral reefs generally seem to be in suboptimal condition these days, does this mean we have maybe three times as many species with endangered habitats as we thought we did?
(Seen at Jenn’s.)