Divers found a fish swimming with limbs similar to hands while wandering in the depths of the seas in Australia. The appearance of this rare species is the first in more than 20 years.
The pink hand fish, also known as Brachiopsilus dianthus, was last seen by a diver off the coast of Tasmania in 1999.
Other discoveries have only been recorded four times, and fearing for its survival, authorities recently classified the creature as endangered.
On the other hand, scientists are optimistic about the discovery of the “needle in a haystack”, as they believe that this type of fish is on the rise.
According to marine biologist Neville Barrett, a fellow at the University of Tasmania, this is a new hope for the survival of a species previously thought to live only in shallow waters. “The biggest surprise was finding a pink handfish in the area at a depth of about 120 metres,” the expert said.
“Until this sighting, the species has only been recorded four times and classified as rare under the Tasman Endangered Species Act,” Barrett explains. “This discovery provides hope for the continued survival of the pink handfish, as it has a broader habitat and distribution than previously thought,” he adds.
The pink hand fish owes its name to the handcrafted fins it uses to walk along the sea floor.
In an interview with ABC, Ashley Bastiansen, also from the University of Tasmania, said it was the creature’s “hands” that caught her eye. “I was watching one of the videos of our trip and there was a goldfish that appeared on the edge of the reef that looked a bit strange,” he said. “I took a closer look and was surprised to see your little hands.”
According to researchers, the pink handfish is native only to Australia. This species, like others, can be found in the Tasmanian Marine Park, a protected area slightly larger than Switzerland, which contains a huge rift in the earth’s crust where marine life is found at depths of more than 4,000 meters.
But it is just one of many species that are endemic to the area, according to Jason Mundy of Parks Australia, the government agency that manages the country’s national parks.
“Cooperation is key to building this extraordinary marine park,” Mundy said. “Its underwater valleys and mountains maintain a remarkable diversity and abundance of marine organisms, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.”
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