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New Fish Species Found In Idaho, Montana Rivers

Image: Christian Science Monitor

On Thursday, scientists announced the rare discovery of a new fish species found in the rivers of Idaho and Montana.

The Spokesman-Review reported Biologists with the U.S. Forest Service discovered the new fish in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers in Idaho and the Clark Fork River in Montana. For decades biologists had misidentified the fish as the common shorthead sculpin, but recent testing revealed it was a new fish species.

“One of the physical differences is visible only if you dissect the fish.The other involves the placement of pores right before the tail. What tipped us off to this being a new species … was the genetic work,” said U.S. Forest Service Biologist Michael Young, who was involved in the discovery.

The Cedar Sculpin

The Cedar SculpinThe cedar sculpin is a prey fish for sport fish like trout. It's characterized by its odd appearance and disproportionately large head.Image: Reuters

Scientists have decided to name the new fish species the cedar sculpin after the red cedar trees found along the Idaho rivers where it was discovered. Sculpin are a prey species for trout and salmon. Anglers who fly fish commonly use a fly fishing pattern that imitates sculpin to catch sport fish like trout. 

RELATED: Use this visual guide for common knots used in fly fishing. 

It’s an exciting and rare find for the biologists who discovered the new fish species. “The discovery of a new fish is something I never thought would happen in my career because it’s very rare in the United States,” said Young.

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New Fish Species Found In Idaho, Montana Rivers