African suckermouth catfish described

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Scientists have described a new species of suckermouth catfish from the same family as the popular Synodontis genus.

The new species, which has been named Chiloglanis productus, is a member of the family Mochokidae and was discovered in the Lunzua River, which flows into the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika in East Africa.

The fish has just been described in the journal Occasional Papers of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology by highly-prolific catfish ichthyologist Heok Hee Ng and Professor Emeritus Reeve Bailey, who is still working in the field despite being 95 years old.

Ng and Bailey say that Chiloglanis productus can be easily told apart from other members of the genus by its very distinctive colour patter, which consists of a pale midlateral stripe and a purplish grey body which lacks other distinct pale patches.

The new catfish also exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with males having a "produced" caudal fin (hence the species name productus), rather than the diamond shaped, trilobate or forked tail seen in other male Chiloglanis that are sexually dimorphic.

Ng told Practical Fishkeeping that a produced caudal fin does not end in a sharp point, as the similar looking lanceolate caudal fin does.

Says Ng: "If you look at the picture of the holotype male, you can see that the central caudal fin rays are extended. Females have a different caudal fin shape."

For more information see the paper: Ng, HH and RM Bailey (2006) - Chiloglanis productus, a new species of suckermouth catfish (Siluriformes: Mochokidae) from Zambia. Occasional Papers of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology 738: 1-13.