Researchers from Hungary were looking for ways to save two endangered species of fish when they accidentally ended up creating an entirely new type of fish altogether.
The two species of fish researchers were trying to save were the Russian sturgeon, a fish used to make high-end caviar, and the American paddlefish, a filter feeder that strains zooplankton from its surrounding waters.
The goal of the experiment was to encourage the sturgeon to reproduce asexually, while the paddle fish was meant to provide sperm and nothing more. However, when sperm from the paddlefish and eggs from the Russian sturgeon were combined, a hybrid species was born.
— CNN (@CNN) July 22, 2020
Researchers initially believed that the paddle fish and sturgeon were unable to interbreed, as the paddlefish dwells in the Mississippi River Basin, and the Russian sturgeon inhabits Russian rivers. The two fish also have vastly different feeding habits.
The team of researchers were surprised when the paddlefish sperm successfully fertilised the sturgeon eggs, resulting in hundreds of hybrids emerging from the eggs. About a month after this unexpected creation came to be, which researchers have nicknamed Sturddlefish, more than 100 of the hybrids are still alive and swimming.
As you would expect, the Sturddlefish display traits from both the Russian sturgeon and the paddlefish. They all feature the mother’s [sturgeon] mouth and carnivorous appetite, while some have the fins and snout from the father [paddlefish].
The “sturddlefish” study was featured in this months scientific journal, which you can read by clicking here.