Nandus andrewi, Slaty leaf fish

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Matt Clarke on the Slaty blue Nandus, a new and undescribed species that's recently gone on sale in the shops here.

Common name: Slaty leaf fish, Slate blue Nandus

Scientific name: Nandus andrewi Ng and Jaafar, 2008

Origin: First discovered in the Nadia District of West Bengal, India, a couple of years ago.

Size: Up to 12cm/5".

Diet: Not known.

Water: Tests taken from the collection locality reveal a pH of 8.8; temperature of 29C and TDS of 143 ppm.

Aquarium: According to the collector, the waters at the collection locations are typical of the plains. The water is densely planted, and often very deep - up to 6m/20' in places.

Notes: A collector working for Andrew Arunava Rao, of Malabar Tropicals, discovered this species in an area of no man's land on the Indo-Bangladesh border. Andrew told me that the waters were no fishing zones, so the fish there had been protected from fishermen for a long time. Says Andrew: "My man managed to get contact with people who had access to this zone who request the BSF (Border Security Force) to fish in those waters in exchange for some choice fish caught. I have over the years, never ever encountered this species anywhere else. Furthermore, the normal Nandus nandus is not available in the same waters."

Identification: Pretty easy to ID, as it's the only blue-grey species in the genus. It also seems something of an enigma. Why it's blue-grey, nobody really knows. Says Andrew: "I would not know why this fish has this light color, it just does not match with the terrain." There are only three described species in the Nandinae genus Nandus: N. nandus; N. oxyrhynchus and N. nebulosus. The most recently described species, N. oxyrhynchus, was described from the Mekong in 1996 by Heok Hee Ng, Peter Ng and C Vidthayanon.

This fish was described by Heok Hee Ng and Zeehan Jaafar of the National University of Singapore in March 2008, but was undescribed when first covered in Practical Fishkeeping magazine.

Availability: These fish were imported as Nandus sp. "Andrewi" by Wildwoods in 2007 and have never been seen in the UK trade before.

Price: Not provided.

Updated: Following the description of this species as Nandus andrewi this fact file has been updated. It was originally published in 2007 when the species was undescribed.