Friday, January 09, 2009

UGA Press Author Helps Discover New Fish Species

University of Georgia researchers Byron Freeman and Mary Freeman have discovered a new species of fish in Georgia’s Flint River. Byron is coauthor of FISHES OF THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP, which was recently reissued by the UGA Press. The Halloween darter, or Percina crypta, is a small striped fish that is very similar to the Blackbanded darter already known to exist in the area. But as the Freemans surveyed the river with a small group of ecologists the distinctive orange coloring unique to Halloween darters caught their attention and led to the discovery.

Mary works for the U.S. Geological Survey and the UGA Odum School of Ecology, and Byron is director of the Georgia Musuem of Natural History. Read more about their discovery in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or on the UGA website. The research team on which the Freemans were working also included Noel Burkhead of the U.S. Geological Survey and Carrie Straight, a Ph.D. student at the UGA Odum School of Ecology.