Eight new Microsynodontis described

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Eight new species of mochokid catfishes from the genus Microsynodontis have been described in a new review of the genus.

Heok Hee Ng of the Fish Division of the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology has produced an in-depth guide to the species of Microsynodontis from the lower Guinea region of west Africa, which has just been published in the systematics journal Zootaxa.

Until recently most catfish enthusiasts have only been aware of a single Microsynodontis, M. batesii, although three others (christyii, lamberti and polli) have also been described. However, closely related, but apparently distinct, fishes having been turning up occasionally as by-catch in imports from west Africa for many years.

Ng says that besides M. batesii, there are actually another eight distinct fish in the genus, which he has described in the review and named: M. armatus; M. emarginatus; M. hirsutus; M. laevigatus; M. nannoculus; M. nasutus; M. notatus and M. vigilis. Many of these fish will have been incorrectly sold as batesii in the trade.

Also, the rarely seen M. christyi, which has previously been considered a synonym of M. batesii, is according to this latest study, a distinct species in its own right.

If you are interested in catfish taxonomy the paper is well worth a read and is available as a free PDF from the publisher.

Ng, HH (2004) - The Microsynodontis (Teleostei: Siluriformes: Mochokidae) of the lower Guinea region, west central Africa, with the description of eight new species. Zootaxa 531: 1-52.