Scientists Accidentally Created A Hybrid Fish While Trying To Save An Endangered Species

If you haven’t ever heard of a sturddlefish, we aren’t surprised. It is a new addition to the world of science, after being created. It is a cross between an American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) and a Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii), and the world of fish may never be the same again.

One of the strangest things about this union is the fact that the parents are not exactly what you would consider compatible. They don’t live near each other, with the sturgeon being a Russian fish and the paddlefish being found in the Mississippi Valley in the US. They also eat different diets, with one being a carnivore that eats crustaceans and small fish and the other feeding on zooplankton.

According to the New York Times, however, there is something that they have in common: They are both slow-growing, large freshwater fish species that live a long time. They are also considered to be “fossil fish” since it seems that they can be traced back to the Mesozoic era. Both of the fish are in danger due to pollution, overfishing, and a loss of habitat.

Scientists at Hungary’s Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture were attempting to breed the two fish in captivity. Using an asexual reproduction process last year, the 2 species were bred with each other.

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At this time, the paddlefish sperm was accidentally given to the sturgeon eggs. It wasn’t long before a hybrid fish was born that had the physical attributes of the parents and loved eating meat. The study is published in the July issue of the journal Genes.

“We never wanted to play around with hybridization,” Dr. Attila Mozsár, a senior research fellow said. “It was absolutely unintentional.”

Although some of the young fish did die, there are still hundreds of those sturddlefish living in the laboratory. They are sterile because they are hybrids and there are no plans for producing more. In addition, they don’t produce caviar, which is why the Russian sturgeon is so highly valued.

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