Extremely rare fish species reappears in NW China after more than 40 years
Published: Aug 10, 2023 11:51 PM
Photo: Screenshot from online

Photo: Screenshot from online

An extremely rare fish species in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, Pareuchiloglanis gracilicaudata, was rediscovered in the Lancang River in early August after disappearing for over 40 years, according to local newspaper Qinghai Daily on Wednesday.

This discovery reflects the abundant aquatic biological resources in the Lancang River.

It provides the basis for the evaluation of the biodiversity and integrity of fish in the Qinghai section of the Lancang River. 

Pareuchiloglanis gracilicaudata, a species of catfish native to Asia, is the only carnivorous benthic native fish in the Lancang River basin. 

Extremely rare, this species has a narrow habitat range and high environmental requirements. 

Except for a few records in the early 1970s, it was never seen and was once considered an extinct or critically endangered species. 

The Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with the agriculture and animal husbandry department of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, discovered the local fish when they were conducting related fish resource surveys in the upper reaches of the Lancang River. 

Since 2021, relevant departments in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture have cooperated with the Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology and other scientific research institutions to systematically conduct fish diversity surveys and evaluate the effects of conservation in the Yangtze River basin and other regions. 

So far most of the historically recorded fish species in the Yangtze River basin in Yushu have been identified by the experts. 

In addition, a possible new species has been found while two species previously not found in Qinghai have also been spotted.