Dracula fish species discovered in aquarium shipment

by Owen James

Here in London, scientists at the Natural History Museum have discovered a new species of fish that sports bone fangs.

The BBC reports that the ‘Dracula’ fish is about 17mm (0.7 inches) long, and hails from just one stream in Burma.

It has been named Danionella dracula after the fictional bloodsucker.

The fangs are used by sparring males, and don’t actually draw blood, says Dr Ralf Britz, a museum researcher and aquarist who coincidentally was recently interviewed by Practical Fiskkeeping magazine.

The fish came to the UK via a consignment of aquarium fish, Dr Britz told BBC News:

“After a year or so in captivity they started dying; and when I preserved them and looked at them under the microscope, I thought ‘my God, what is this, they can’t be teeth’,”

“And when I looked in more detail, and stained the bone and cartilage with different colours and used an enzyme to dissolve away the muscle, I saw they clearly were not teeth.”

The Dracula fish has instead developed teeth-like protrusions from its jawbone, as well as the fangs.

DNA data suggests the teeth were dropped some 50 million years ago.

Check out Katy's Tropical Fish Guide for more aquarium info.

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