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The Smooth Handfish is Extinct

The Smooth Handfish

In a devastating announcement, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has declared the Smooth Handfish (Sympterichthys unipennis) extinct. This unique species, native to Tasmania, has met its unfortunate demise, marking yet another loss in our planet’s biodiversity. The official declaration of the Smooth Handfish’s extinction was reported in the July issue of Scientific American, shedding light on the urgent need for conservation efforts.

The Smooth Handfish and Its Legacy

The Smooth Handfish, a distant relative of the Anglerfish, held a special place in the aquatic ecosystem of Tasmania. It possessed distinct characteristics, such as hand-like pectoral fins, which it used for walking along the ocean floor. With its captivating appearance and fascinating behaviours, the Smooth Handfish captivated the attention of scientists and nature enthusiasts alike.

The Tragic Extinction

The declaration of the Smooth Handfish’s extinction serves as a sombre reminder of the challenges faced by numerous species worldwide. Habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, and climate change are just some of the factors contributing to the decline and disappearance of species. Despite efforts to protect and conserve vulnerable marine life, the Smooth Handfish ultimately succumbed to the mounting pressures imposed by human activities.

The Importance of Conservation

The loss of the Smooth Handfish highlights the critical importance of conservation initiatives. The IUCN and other organizations are dedicated to studying, preserving, and restoring endangered species and their habitats. It is crucial that we raise awareness about the threats faced by these species and strive to implement sustainable practices that protect our natural ecosystems.

Lessons for the Future

The extinction of the Smooth Handfish serves as a call to action. It reminds us that we must prioritize conservation efforts and take steps to mitigate the factors driving species to extinction. By recognizing the interdependence between human activities and the health of our planet, we can make conscious choices to safeguard biodiversity and preserve our natural heritage for future generations.

A Wake-Up Call

The loss of any species, such as the Smooth Handfish, should serve as a wake-up call for us all. It reminds us of the fragility of our ecosystems and the urgent need for collective action. Governments, scientists, communities, and individuals must work together to address the root causes of species decline, protect habitats, and promote sustainable practices to prevent further extinctions.


The official declaration of the Smooth Handfish’s extinction underscores the ongoing global biodiversity crisis. This unique species, once an integral part of Tasmania’s marine environment, is now lost forever. Its story compels us to reflect on the impact of human activities on our natural world and the importance of conservation. Let us learn from this tragic loss and redouble our efforts to protect and preserve the wondrous diversity of life on Earth.


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