A group of silver-scaled, fork-finned fish caught in Iran turned out to belong to a brand new species.
The fish — which measure about 3 inches long — were pulled from several rivers in southeast Iran, according to a study recently published in the journal Zootaxa.
DNA analysis revealed they belong to the genus cabdio, a group of South Asian danionins, which are minnow-like fish, according to iNaturalist, a citizen scientist platform.
The newfound species was given the name occidentalis, which is Latin for “westerly” — a reference to it being the westernmost member of the genus.
Its color ranges from “light-brown to silvery-brown,” while their forked tail fins have an orange hue, researchers said.
Several characteristics distinguish it from other members of the genus, including its total number of scales and the absence of a keel near its pelvic fin.
So far, the species has only been found in four Iranian rivers, though it is suspected of dwelling in certain rivers in Pakistan, which neighbors Iran.
Further research is needed to better understand the species, researchers, who are affiliated with institutions in Iran, Germany and Sweden, said.
There are more than 18,000 known species of freshwater fish worldwide, nearly one-third of which are threatened by extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund.