According tomedia CNET, the giant moth (Mola Alexandrini) is a large oceanic fish, one of the world’s largest fish, some up to 3 meters or 9.8 feet long. Scientists have long struggled to identify its larvae, in part because they are hard to find. Now, for the first time, they have succeeded in finding the young fish, but it is far from the giant fish they expected.
As part of a study led by the Australian Museum, a team of scientists from Australia and New Zealand were finally able to genetically identify the fish by analysing specimens collected by CSIRO RV Investigator in 2017 and preserving them in alcohol – finding that the larvae themselves are small.
Due to unexpected size, the identification process is particularly difficult — typically used to identify characteristics of fish that are not visible in juvenile fish specimens, so a lot of further analysis is required.
“Using the resources of the Australian Museum Genomics Laboratory, we were able to perform DNA analysis on one of the specimens kept in alcohol.” Dr. Marianne Nyegaard, a rollover expert and the study’s leader, said in a statement.
“Genetic identification of one of the young fish is very important, but it is only one step in a long journey to describe the early development of all three of the species – a work that requires global collaboration. If we want to protect these ocean giants, we need to understand their entire life history, including what the young fish look like and where they appear. “
Despite a record of the highest potential fertility or ability to produce offspring, the number of eggs in a single female has reached 300 million, the lack of larvae so far makes this identification process very important.
Nyegaard asked, “Why are the eggs never found in the wild, and why there are so few larvae, it’s a mystery where they are?” asked Nyegaard. “