The Bermuda Beardfish, as it is proposed to be commonly named, marks a new discovery in the beardfish species. The new species falls under the genus Polymixia, and was discovered on Bermuda’s deep slope. Here are a few more interesting facts about this fascinating find.
- The species received its name, Polymixia hollisterea, after celebrated scientist and explorer, Gloria E. Hollister. Hollister was integral in the bathysphere expeditions off Nonsuch Island in 1930, setting a record for the deepest descent by a woman at the time.
- This particular species was first discovered and caught off of Eastern Blue Cut by Craig Soares and Richard Allen in 1997. The specimens were donated to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo where they have been studied and preserved ever since.
- Polymixia hollisterea was originally misidentified as another species within the Polymixia genus, but new genetic data has come forward to differentiate this particular fish as a distinct discovery.
- The two existing specimens were loaned from BAMZ to Dr. Terry Grande and Dr. Mark Wilson, scientists who recently published their work on Polymixia hollisterea and confirmed its status as a new species.
- Bermuda is home to three species of Polymixia, of which there are only ten worldwide.
- There is only one other known existing P. hollisterea specimen, which was caught in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Beardfish are a bottom-dwelling species, and thus, scientific information on the Bermuda Beardfish is limited as they live in deepwater environments with only a few specimens to study.
- The common name comes from beard-like palps which hang from their lower jaw, used as sensors for finding food.