The asprete, a ray-finned freshwater fish species that lives only in Romania, has long captured Mircea Marginean’s imagination. He remembers hearing about the species in 2011, when he was a university student. “I remember [my professor] saying that this is one of the most endangered freshwater fish species in Europe and probably in the world, and we don’t know exactly how many there are,” Marginean, who is now a biologist for the conservation organization Fauna & Flora International, tells Mongabay. “He was saying [there were] about 8 to 15, and I remember thinking I would be so happy to get the chance to work on fish species conservation.” In October, Marginean got to go on a survey expedition to search for the elusive species. He and colleagues surveyed 41 sites in three rivers but found the species only in the Vâlsan River. Across a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) stretch of the river, they identified 58 individuals. “The best thing is that we still found it, and we managed to find more than we expected,” Marginean says. “I didn’t expect to find 58 individuals — I would have been so happy to have found 20.” On a recent survey expedition, scientists identified 58 asprete fish in the Vâlsan River in Romania. Image by Alex Găvan. First discovered in 1956, the asprete (Romanichthys valsanicola) occupies a genus of its own and has no close relatives. Some experts also believe the asprete has lived on Earth for up to 65 million years, earning the fish…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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