The Chinese swordfish (Psephurus gladius), also known as Chinese spatula fish, is officially extinct. This is declared by a new study published in Science of The Total Environment and carried out by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It is a freshwater fish, one of the largest species (it can easily exceed 3 meters in length, some specimens caught exceeded 6 meters), characterized by a protruding snout similar to that of a paddle or flattened sword. They could be found relatively easily in the Blue River and its various tributaries so much so that, at least until the end of the 1970s, it was one of the favorite prey and one of the most caught by fishermen.
And it is precisely because of overfishing, as well as the loss of habitat caused by human activities (in particular the construction of dams), that this fish became extinct, according to researchers. The researchers have carried out their own studies, those necessary to verify the extinction of an animal, between 2017 and 2018 and report that they have found no evidence of a Chinese swordfish in life.
Among other things, the last sighting was in 2003 and the last sighting of a dead specimen was in 2007. The last specimens were reported to have died between 2005 and 2010 but the fish had been functionally extinct (essentially unable to reproduce) since the mid-1990s. In addition, tissue samples of a Chinese sword specimen were never stored. This means that even in a hypothetical future where cloning would be possible, this could prove impossible for this species of fish: basically it is gone forever.
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