Rare fish found!

The Wikipedia page for Benham's Streamer fish, Agrostichthys parkeri, states that it is a "species of oarfish found in the southern oceans where it is only known from seven specimens."
I'm delighted to let you know that the Australasian Fishes Project now has two observations of the species. We can thank @mark2-nz and @james_adams for uploading observations of this rarely encountered species from New Zealand and Tasmania respectively.
The first observation (see images above) was uploaded by Mark Anderson (@mark2-nz), a Biology teacher at Marlborough Boys College in Blenheim, New Zealand. The initial sighting of this fish, however, was made by Joseph Wegener (@joseph_wegener) who was a year 11 student in Mark's class at the time. Mark didn't know what the fish was, so with Joseph's permission, he uploaded the photos to iNaturalist. Mark recalled that the observation generated a fair bit of interest from marine biologists. To follow up, Mark asked Joseph if he knew where the fish was located. To his great surprise, Joseph said it was in his freezer! Mark collected the fish from Joseph and on his next trip to Wellington delivered it to the museum, where it is now deposited in the ichthyology collection.
Mark stated that this "... was such a good use of iNaturalist. I use this example when I introduce my Biology students to the site as a great way that this tool can be used."
Carl Struthers (@cdstruthers) works at the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. He stated, "It was wonderful to receive the specimen that Joey collected and have it in the Te Papa collection for future research. Specimens of this size are not that common in collections, with most specimens over 1 m, our largest is just under 3.1 m. This will provide important information for the species at this smaller size. This highlights the value of citizen science, and the role that members of the public have in supporting collections and research."
Interestingly, Carl also stated that "Te Papa probably holds one of the largest collections of this species in the world, with 54 specimens collected from throughout our region." The map, below, (from Stewart, 2015*), shows the collection locations for the species in the Te Papa collection. I guess it goes to show that you can't trust everything you read on Wikipedia! The Atlas of Living Australia records 8 observations of the species from Australian waters.
The more recent observation (photos below) was made in December 2021 by James Adams (@james_adams) in Adventure Bay, Bruny Island, Tasmania.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and effort to make this journal entry possible. And always wemember - wonderful Wikipedia isn't always corwekt. :)
* Stewart, 2015 in Roberts, C.D., A.L. Stewart & C.D. Struthers, 2015, The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: Te Papa Press.
Posted by markmcg markmcg, March 17, 2022 10:23

Comments

What a great story and fabulous fish!

Posted by amandahay 3 months ago (Flag)

Thanks @amandahay. I thought it was pretty cool. :)

Posted by markmcg 3 months ago (Flag)

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