Friday January 20, 2023

UC San Diego

A team of researchers led by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography has discovered a new species of fish—a member of the eelpout family—that lives in the eastern Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica.

The newly identified species, Pyrolycus jaco, is the first fish species to be described from the hydrothermal seep site known as Jacó Scar, located on the Pacific margin of Costa Rica. Measuring roughly 6 inches long with a light pink to lavender colored body, the small eel-like fish has been observed nestling among tubeworms at depths of 1,750-1,800 meters (5,741-5,906 feet). Researchers describe the new species in a paper published Jan. 19 in the journal Zootaxa.

“It is a very mysterious and unique little fish, so we named it after the unique site and city of Jacó in Costa Rica, giving it the name Pyrolycus jaco,” said lead author Ben Frable, collection manager of the Marine Vertebrate Collection at Scripps Oceanography. “This discovery was made possible thanks to previous expeditions and insights made by Scripps marine scientists over the years, and is a great example of how far collaborative research can go.”

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