AUG 06, 2018 02:59 PM PDT

African Killifish Crowned the World's 'Fastest-Maturing' Vertebrate

Researchers have long understood the African killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) to reach maturity at break-neck speeds. But a new study published in the journal Current Biology this week underscores how the African killifish matures more quickly than initially believed.

As it would seem, there’s a significant gap in the maturity timeframe when lab-based African killifish are compared with their wild counterparts.

Image Credit: Milan Vrtílek, Jakub Žák, Martin Reichard

Lab testing initially showed that African killifish could reach maturity within about three to four weeks, but new observations made in the wilderness from January to May of 2016 showed some specimens growing to their full adult size and exhibiting reproductive behavior within as little as two weeks.

Remarkably, these findings would mean that the African killifish is the fastest-growing vertebrate known to science.

"We guessed that some populations of this species could achieve very rapid growth and sexual maturation under particular conditions," explains Martin Reichard from the Institute of Vertebrate Biology at The Czech Academy of Sciences.

"But we have found that this rapid maturation is the norm rather than a rare exception."

Related: Rising oceanic CO2 levels inhibit olfaction in fish

The African killifish is no stranger to the lab; in fact, there’ve been numerous studies in the past intended to learn more about the species’ lifespan and development. But for whatever reason, each study results in different findings.

Case in point, this study showed a two-week maturity period, while others have shown three, four, and in some cases, 10-week maturity periods. The researchers suggest that the inconsistency may have something to do with the environment; additionally, perhaps the fish exhibit flexible lifespans to suit their particular ecosystem.

Related: Reef fish inherit elevated tolerance to climate change

It’s an interesting theory, but only through additional research will the researchers be able to validate it. After all, consistency in numbers is important in science, and the African killifish exhibits anything but, making it challenging draw definite conclusions.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 17, 2019
Health & Medicine
SEP 17, 2019
Cancer and Cannabis: A Good Match?
Recently cannabis and cancer treatment have gone hand and hand. Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular amongst cancer patients as they see posi...
SEP 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 17, 2019
This Endangered Penguin Will Get a Second Chance at Walking
While most people are familiar with the penguins that reside in colder climates, some species, such as the African penguin, are temperate, which means that...
SEP 17, 2019
Earth & The Environment
SEP 17, 2019
July 2019 is the Hottest Month on Record
Headlines of record-breaking heat have become more common this summer. Just a few weeks ago, cities throughout Europe suffered through an intense heatwave....
SEP 17, 2019
Cancer
SEP 17, 2019
What zebra fish tell us about cancer tumors
New research published in PNAS from researchers at Duke University highlights a surprising finding: zebrafish have the ability to shed the lining of their ...
SEP 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 17, 2019
Watch a Baby Kangaroo Take its First Hops
When Kangaroos are first born, the bones and muscles in their legs aren’t strong enough for them to stand on their own. This is why baby kangaroos re...
SEP 17, 2019
Plants & Animals
SEP 17, 2019
Fish With 'Specialist' Diets Face Severe Survival Challenges
Animals can be categorized as having one of two types of diets, including ‘specialists,’ which eat only specific kinds of prey, and ‘gene...
Loading Comments...