- VICTORIA, Seychelles (Reuters)
-- A new species of freshwater fish has been discovered in the Indian Ocean
archipelago of the Seychelles, underlining the need for better protection
for marine species, environment officials said Monday.
- The group of 120 tiny islands, which promotes itself
as the original site of the garden of Eden, is a hotbed of biodiversity
with a kaleidoscopic array of wildlife such as the giant turtle and plant
species like the sensual coco de mer.
- "This new species has never been sampled elsewhere
and the species name is unknown," said Wilma Accouche, assistant conservation
officer at the environment and natural resources ministry.
- Accouche said the small copper-colored fish had not been
given a name yet as more taxonomic work was required to classify it correctly.
- The discovery, made during an inventory of Seychelles
freshwater systems, brought the number of native freshwater fish species
in Seychelles rivers to three.
- Accouche said the discoveries make it all the more important
to protect freshwater ecosystems, especially if the species live close
to the coast, where there is more interaction with humans.
- "This provides us with another platform to educate
members of the public on the need to develop a more responsible and protective
attitude toward our rivers, as we never know what rare and natural treasures
we may be destroying," she said.
- Accouche said that two species of crustacean were also
discovered and work is under way to identify them at the Natural History
Museum in Paris. They are new to the region, but it is not yet clear if
they exist elsewhere.
- "We are optimistic of further new finds," she
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