30 new fish among Borneo discoveries

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30 new fish among Borneo discoveries

 

Thirty new fish species are among this year's new discoveries from the island of Borneo.

The discoveries are outlined in a report compiled by the WWF which emphasises the need to conserve the biodiversity of Borneo, the world's third largest island. A total of 52 species were described or discovered in Borneo this year, the report says.

The new fish species, which have been exclusively covered by Practical Fishkeeping over the past year or more, include the discovery of two of the world's smallest fish species, six fighting fish and a number of catfishes and loaches.

Paedocypris progenetica, at 7.9mm, is believed to be the world's smallest free-living freshwater fish, and was discovered in acidic peat swamps in the Malaysian part of Borneo and described in January 2006.

Another species, Paedocypris micromegethes, which is the world's second smallest fish, was described in the same paper after its discovery in Sarawak in 2001.

Both fishes are adapted for life in threatened peat swamps environments and can tolerate the extreme conditions found there; the pH of the water can be as low as 3.0 - which is 1000 times more acidic than most of the tapwater in the UK.

Glyptothorax exodon, a new river-dwelling sisorid catfish, was described from the Kapuas River in Borneo in January 2006 by Heok Hee Ng.

Ng, who is a contributor to Practical Fishkeeping magazine, identified the new species after studying specimens of another species and spotting differences between specimens from Borneo and those from Sumatra.

The catfish, like others in the Glyptothorax genus, is equipped with a suction pad-like organ on its belly, which allows it to cling to rocks in rapid water.

Ng described another species from Borneo, a leaf-fish called Nandus prolixus, in October this year.

In June, Heok Hui Tan and Peter Ng of the University of Singapore described six new species of fighting fish from the Betta genus from Borneo.

Tan and Sulaiman also described three new loaches from the islands hillstreams in February. The three new fish were named Gastromyzon cranbrooki, G. aeroides and G. venustus.

Stuart Chapman, the International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo programme, said: "These discoveries reaffirm Borneo's position as one of the most important centres of biodiversity in the world. The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world's final frontiers for science and many undiscovered species are still waiting to be found there."