Ichthyologists have made a new classification of the grayling

19 April 2018

Ichthyologists from Russia and the Czech Republic have conducted a large-scale study devoted to the grayling ichthyofauna of the world. The result of seven years’ work was a new approach to identifying the species--by the dorsal fin--and to the atlas that, in addition to the classifier, contains information on the genetic characteristics of the fish. The data they obtained are important for the correct taxonomy of graylings, as well as for the training of future ichthyologists and industrialists engaged in breeding this popular species of fish in the salmonid fishes.

Vladimir Romanov, head of the Department of Ichthyology and Hydrobiology of TSU’s Biological Institute, one of the most experienced scientists with this group of fishes in Russia, and a scientist at the department, Yury Dyldin, participated from the Russian side; from the Czech Republic were Lubomír Hanel, one of the most well-known ichthyologists of Europe, a professor at Charles University, taxonomist, and expert from the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Czech Republic and Jan Plesnik, a zoologist .

- Interest in grayling is for several reasons. First, this species is an indicator when conducting eco-monitoring because it lives only in cold and very clean water, - says Yury Dyldin. Second, the last and, in fact, the only full-fledged full account of the grayling was made in 1936. The new atlas contains a description of three species - Siberian, Mongolian, and European, but in fact, they are several times more.

In the research, the experts from Russia and the Czech Republic studied the ichthyofauna of the countries of the world where grayling is found and identified 18 species. At the same time, they developed a new approach to classification. The ichthyologists used the dorsal fin as a distinctive feature that differs in color and shape in different species of grayling. In Italy and China, two new species were identified - the Adriatic grayling (Thymallus aeliani) and the grayling of the Yalu Jiang River (Thymallus yaluensis), respectively.

Along with detailed description, the new atlas contains data on the genetic characteristics of each species. Scientists emphasize the practical importance of this information for maintaining the purity of the breed, which is a significant factor in producing artificial grayling.

New data obtained by ichthyologists will be placed in the prestigious scientific catalog of the California Academy of Sciences: https://www.calacademy.org/scientists/projects/catalog-of-fishes.

A joint article of the scientists with the results of the research was published in the Bulletin Lampetra, which is part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN.