GEORGE TOWN: Biggest is not always best, sometimes the smallest can be a source of pride, and a big scientific step forward.
Malaysian scientists have found what may be the second smallest fish in the world.
NST caption - The Perak fish barely makes it past the 10mm mark.
Only one species [Paedocypris progenitica] is smaller.
A team led by Universiti Sains Malaysia's School of Biological Sciences' Associate Professor Khoo Khay Huat here discovered the fish in a peat swamp in Perak last month. They have named it "Perak fish" while awaiting confirmation of its scientific name.
Khoo said the Perak fish measures about 10mm in length and feeds on plankton.
It lives in tea-coloured swamp waters with a pH between four and five.
Japan-based United Nations University's Institute of Advanced Studies director Professor Datuk A.H. Zakri, an active environmentalist for the past 30 years, described USM's find as "very significant", saying that there are an estimated 15 million to 30 million species in the world.
"But scientists have only discovered some 1.75 million to date. This find is certainly something to be very proud of," he said at a news conference yesterday.
"We are very excited about our find," Khoo said.
Scientists from Europe and Singapore discovered the world's tiniest fish -- a species that lives in peat wetlands in Sumatra earlier this year.
The fish is just the size of a large mosquito when fully grown. The record-busting species, Paedocypris progenetica, is a distant cousin of the carp.
Mature female Paedocypris progenetica reach just 7.9mm in length, making them the smallest vertebrates yet identified by a tenth of a millimetre.
Khoo said his team would conduct a comparative study in Sumatra soon to ascertain if the Perak fish and Paedocypris progenetica have any similarities.