Potential new fish species found at site

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Todd Bond. Pic: Nicholas Smith
Camera IconTodd Bond. Pic: Nicholas Smith Credit: Nicholas Kieran Smith/Picture: Nicholas Smith

A potential new species of pufferfish has been discovered in the Pilbara after mysterious circles were spotted underwater at a Woodside site.

Some 22 mystery circles were found on video footage collected during an inspection by geo-data company Fugro of the subsea Echo Yodel infrastructure on the North West Shelf.

Researchers recognised the circles, which are the first to be found in the country, were similar to the complex under-water structures created by the white-spotted pufferfish previously thought to be found only in southern Japan.

The circles in Japan are usually found at depths of less than 30m, however the Pilbara ones were found at 137m.

Woodside then captured further footage which showed sightings of pufferfish in the immediate vicinity of the circles, however further investigation was needed to classify the species.

Author and UWA researcher Todd Bond said the discovery of the unique circle structures were most likely produced by a male pufferfish species to use as a nest.

“The pufferfish species responsible cannot be identified from the images collected but it is possibly a new species,” he said.

Australian Institute of Marine Science researcher Matthew Birt said the discovery showed the importance of working alongside industry to uncover new information.

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