AUGUST: Timor Sea Banjofish

Collaboration leads to new species discovered in MAGNT collection!

MAGNT has a large and significant Natural Science collection which attracts research interest from around the world. Collaboration with researchers from Japan has recently led to the description of a new species from the Northern Territory, the Timor Sea Banjofish or Banjos peregrinus which was discovered in the MAGNT collection. This new species is known from only a single specimen collected by NT Fisheries in the early 1990s in the Timor Sea, at a depth of 172 metres.

(Above) The Holotype specimen of a new species known as the Timor Sea Banjofish (Banjos peregrinus) discovered in the MAGNT Natural Science collection (NTM S.13342-004), originally collected in deep offshore waters of the Northern Territory (photo Mizuki Matsunuma)

The Latin scientific name for this species roughly translates as ‘strange’, alluding to the unusual overall appearance of the species. It can be recognised by its perch shaped body, very large eye and thick dorsal (top) spines. Obviously very little is known about the species, but it appears to reach a length of at least 20 centimetres.

The general public and fishermen are encouraged to report any sightings of this fish, or other unusual catches, to help build a better picture of marine biodiversity in Northern Territory waters.

The research findings appear in the latest issues of the journal Ichthyological Research authored by Mizuki Matsunuma and Hiroyuki Motomura.

(Left) Students Satokuni Tashiro (left) and Byeol Jeong from Kagoshima University in Japan examining specimens in the MAGNT Natural Sciences wet store


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