The most interesting fish in the world
Feb 26, 2018 at 3:00pm
Scientist recently embarked on a quest to find the most interesting fish in the world.
Clearly, what constitutes “interesting” is highly subjective: they asked 20 FISHBIO staff to pick the most interesting fish and got 20 different answers. So they decided to try a more quantitative approach by defining “interesting” as the amount of attention a species receives in the scientific literature. To figure out about which fish the scientific community focuses on most, they scoured the web using a popular academic search engine, and tallied the number of publications listed for each fish species. With a staggering 33,104 fish species currently recognized on FishBase, a few lines of computer code were necessary to automate this process – but after some brooding, tinkering, and data mining, the results are in!
Leading the pack by a margin of about 10 percent is the ever-popular rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Rainbow trout as a species encompass an astonishing amount of diversity (including steelhead, the anadromous form), and may be the most sought-after prize for recreational anglers. From its origins in Northern California, the world-wide conquest of rainbow trout in temperate lakes and streams was facilitated by the relative ease of transport and artificial breeding. Likely outnumbering any other intentionally stocked fish, rainbow trout have been trucked in tankers, carried by mule, and dropped from airplanes to “enhance” recreational fishing opportunity on all continents except Antarctica. Rainbow trout also top the ranks of freshwater aquaculture production in Europe. In the United States, most of the nearly 130 million trout distributed in 2016 for restoration, conservation, enhancement, or recreational purposes were rainbow trout. Despite its popularity, however, this species also brings plenty of challenges, including spread of disease, hybridization with native strains, and decimation of amphibians – all of which garner plenty of scientific press and contribute to its ranking.
Read the full article here.