Researchers rediscover a freshwater fish that hasn’t been seen in practically 50 years


A Batman River loach, the species misplaced to science since 1974 was not too long ago rediscovered in southeast Turkey. It is the primary fish to be rediscovered on Shoal and Re:wild’s high 10 most wished misplaced fishes checklist. Credit: Re:wild

Turkish ichthyologists have rediscovered populations of the critically endangered Batman River loach in two streams in southeast Turkey, the primary time the tiny fish has been seen since 1974, and the primary species rediscovered on Shoal and Re:wild’s high 10 most wished misplaced fishes checklist, which launched in June 2021.

“When I first heard about the Search for the Lost Fishes project, I was very happy,” stated Cüynet Kaya, affiliate professor with Recep Tayyip Erdogan University. “Moreover, two of the 10 most wanted fish species were distributed in my country. It is a very different feeling when you see naturalists from foreign countries caring about an endemic species in your country and making efforts to save it. As a freshwater fish taxonomist, I thought that I should do my best for this project, and fortunately our efforts resulted in finding the first lost endemic and critically endangered Batman River loach.”

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After studying concerning the Search for Lost Fishes, Kaya and Münevver Oral, a analysis fellow with Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, got down to seek for the small yellow-and-brown striped fish which is the smallest loach species within the Middle East, and smaller than any loach species present in Europe. The tiny critter, rising as much as 1.4 inches (or 36 millimeters) lengthy, was as soon as distributed round streams and tributaries of the Batman River, which is assumed to take its title not from the caped-crusader, however from the close by Bati Raman mountain.

Expedition groups have searched the river beneath the historic Malabadi bridge and the decrease components of the Batman River, the place the fish was first found, many occasions within the many years because the Batman River loach’s final sighting, with out success. After analyzing attainable places the place the Batman River loach may survive, Kaya and Oral as a substitute centered their search on the Sarim Stream, which is upstream of the Batman Dam. In October and November 2021, the crew visited the stream and different headwaters of the Batman River, that are shallow, rocky and fast-flowing, the popular habitat of the fish.

Kaya and Oral searched the streams utilizing tight-weave nets that prevented the Batman River loach from slipping by means of. They discovered 14 fish within the Sarim Stream and one other 9 within the Han Stream.

Kaya and Oral stated the inhabitants of the loach appears regular, however they’re involved concerning the results of air pollution, drought, and invasive species, and burdened that additional examine is required to get a clearer understanding of the species’ total distribution.

“When we launched the Search for the Lost Fishes, we hoped that we would have the opportunity to celebrate days like this,” stated Mike Baltzer, government director of Shoal. “There are so many lost and threatened fish and we are so happy that this little loach has been found, and hopefully we can now secure its future. This is the first species of Lost Fishes that has been rediscovered—hopefully the first of many.”

Populations of the Batman River loach nosedived after the development of the Batman Dam in Turkey between 1986 and 1999, main some scientists to worry it might have change into extinct. Construction of the Batman Dam could have brought on populations of the species to fall and, when Kaya and Oral sampled areas downstream of the dam, the place the species was recorded in 1974, they had been unable to search out any people. The species’ habitat is now fragmented as a result of dam, and the fish can not transfer downstream.

“We have searched for this fish for many years. It is obviously very rare, as it has not been found in the original locations that it was previously recorded,” stated Jörg Freyhof, Europe’s main ichthyologist and skilled on these fishes, and who’s co-authoring a analysis paper with Kaya concerning the rediscovery. “We even doubted that it existed. Cüneyt made massive efforts to finally confirm its existence. Its finding is a sign of hope, that this species has survived despite everything that has been done to kill the river.”

Shoal and Re:wild launched the Search for Lost Fishes with in June 2021, in a bid to encourage individuals to search for species which have fallen off the radar, in order that conservation applications will be put in place to deliver them again from the brink of extinction.


Shoal is a worldwide collaborative initiative to halt the extinction and get better populations of probably the most threatened freshwater species within the wild. Freshwater species are going extinct sooner than their marine or terrestrial cousins, and virtually one in three of these alive at present may quickly disappear, by no means to return. There is an pressing want for decided motion, and Shoal is constructing a powerful group of companions that can work collectively to offer vital consideration, escalate assist, and speed up and intensify the motion that’s required to stem the tide of extinction and get better endangered species populations all through the Earth’s freshwaters.

Shoal’s Search for the Lost Fishes mission highlights greater than 300 freshwater fish species that have not been recorded in over a decade, however that are but to be declared Extinct by the IUCN Red List. By selling the species, Shoal hopes that they are going to be rediscovered, permitting for sturdy conservation initiatives to be carried out to deliver them again from the brink of extinction.

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Researchers rediscover a freshwater fish that hasn’t been seen in practically 50 years (2021, December 10)
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