Scientists Accidentally Create ‘Impossible’ Hybrid Fish

A “sturddlefish,” a hybrid of Russian sturgeon and American paddlefish, accidentally bred in a nursery in Hungary. Image: Flórián Tóth

Scientists in Hungary accidentally created a hybrid fish thought to be impossible… Meet the “sturddlefish”.

The sturddlefish is a new hybrid fish, possessing a mix of genes from the Russian sturgeon and the American paddlefish. The two fish are among the largest freshwater fish on Earth, as well as the most endangered.

“I did a double-take when I saw it,” said Solomon David, an aquatic ecologist at Nicholls State University in Louisiana. “I just didn’t believe it. I thought, hybridization between sturgeon and paddlefish? There’s no way.”

(a) Yearlings of A. gueldenstaedtii and (b) their hybrids: (c) typical LH (larger genome) hybrid, (d) typical SH (smaller genome) hybrid of P. spathula.

The two species mating was thought to be highly unlikely, especially given that the two species last common ancestor lived 184 million years ago. For this reason, the researchers believed the potential for a hybrid between these two species was not even considered by the researchers.

The hybrids were created accidentally during attempts to induce asexual reproduction. During the experiment, the researchers accidentally used sperm from paddlefish fathers instead of sperm from sturgeons to fertilize the female sturgeons.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Genes.

This species is just one of many surprising hybrid species. Click here to learn more about hybrid species, and see some of the most amazing ever discovered.

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