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First endemic species in the Baltic Sea

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have discovered and named the first endemic fish species discovered in the Baltic Sea – the ‘Baltic flounder’, Platichthys solemdali. Until now, a similar situation had not occurred, with only one endemic species found and described in the region, among all fauna. The Baltic flounder, Platichthys solemdali, is the
Published: July 13, 2018 - 14:57
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:02
First endemic species in the Baltic Sea

Researchers from the University of Helsinki have discovered and named the first endemic fish species discovered in the Baltic Sea – the ‘Baltic flounder’, Platichthys solemdali. Until now, a similar situation had not occurred, with only one endemic species found and described in the region, among all fauna.

The Baltic flounder, Platichthys solemdali, is the first fish species found to be native only to the Baltic Sea, i.e. the first endemic fish described from this area and one of only two known endemic species, considering each organism.

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The fact that, after more than a century of biological research in this area, new vertebrate species have been found and described in European waters, especially in such a poor body of water as the Baltic Sea, makes this an unusual and scientifically very important situation.

[blockquote style=”2″]”The reason why this species has not been recognised before is that it appears similar to another species, the European flounder, Platichthys flesus, which also occurs in the Baltic Sea.” – says Professor Juha Merilä from the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.[/blockquote]

Currently, the two species can only be distinguished by genetic methods or by examining their eggs and sperm. The species also differ in their interaction with the environment. The newly described Baltic flounder lays sinking eggs on the seabed in coastal areas, while the European flounder gives birth to floating eggs in deep areas in the open sea. The new species is more common in the Gulf of Finland, while the European flounder population is concentrated in the central and southern Baltic.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Since the definition of species and the binomial scientific name in this connection are the main concepts and units of biology in general and in biological taxonomy in particular, the formal description and naming of species are still an important part in understanding the biological order.” – states Merilä.[/blockquote]

Officially dividing flounder into two separate species through a formal description and naming procedure, is essential for more accurate assessments, very important for the management and conservation of species that are mixed stocks in many areas.

Commercial fishing for flounder in the Baltic Sea has partly been based on the incorrect assumption that stocks consist of a single species, whereas two species can coexist in several places. As fisheries can now target both species of flounder, there is a danger of unintentionally overfishing the species that make up the weaker component of mixed stocks.

Source: helsinki.fi

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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