Cornwall

Newquay aquarium breeds hundreds of rare goby fish

Leopard spot goby under microscope. Pic: Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium Image copyright Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium
Image caption The goby hatchlings (under a microscope, left) will grow into one of the UK's most attractive native species, staff say

A Cornish aquarium has successfully bred hundreds of rare goby fish, managers say.

The leopard spot gobies - which are covered in bright red and orange spots and are native to the south-west of England - were bred at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium.

The tiny hatchlings are being reared in the aquarium's nursery.

The fish live in shallow seas below the low water mark in rocky areas and are occasionally found in rock pools.

'Most attractive'

The fish were virtually unknown around the British coast until the introduction of modern scuba equipment allowed divers to discover them.

The aquarium said: "It's believed to be the first time the fish has been bred successfully in captivity, and staff are hopeful the tiny hatchlings will continue to thrive."

Gobies are the largest family of marine fish, containing about 1,875 species.

Jenny Youngs, of Blue Reef Aquarium, said: "Leopard spot gobies are definitely one of the most attractive of our native species. Their bright markings are all the more unusual as most other members of the goby family are far more drably coloured to match their rocky or sandy habitat.

"We have a group of four adults here at Blue Reef but this is the first time they have bred. As far as we know the species is not on display anywhere else in the UK so we think this is actually a first."

In the wild, they feed on small crustaceans and other tiny invertebrates.

The smallest fish in the world is a Japanese species of goby, BBC Nature says.

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