Hoplo catfish given new name

The well-known Hoplo catfish has been given a new name in a study by leading catfish experts.

Reis, Bail and Mol looked at the type specimens of a number of catfishes in the Callichthyinae subfamily and found that some members of the Megalechis genus needed rearranging.

Their paper, which was published in the journal Copeia, says that the Port hoplo, formerly known as Megalechis thoracata (Valenciennes, 1840), should now be called Megalechis picta.

The authors wrote: \"This change in the synonym of the species of Megalechis is especially confusing because the name thoracata remains valid, but applies to the species formerly known as M. personata, which becomes a new junior synonym of thoracata. On the other hand, the species formerly known as M. thoracata is now known as M. picta.\"

The discoveries were made after the scientists re-examined the holotypes of Callichthys thoracatus and Callichthys longifilis, which were used to describe the species now placed in Megalechis.

The fish were found to be those currently known as Megalechis personata, the so-called Tail-bar hoplo.

However, since C. thoracatus was described first, it has priority and is a senior synonym.

This meant that the scientists needed a new name for the current Megalechis thoracata, and the next available name was Callichthys pictus, making the new name for the fish Megalechis picta.

For more information on the name changes see the paper: Reis, RE, P-Y Le Bail and JHA Mol (2005) - New Arrangement in the Synonymy of Megalechis Reis, 1997 (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae). Copeia 2005: 678-682.