Four hillstream catfishes described from China

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Chinese scientists have described four new species of rheophilic sisorid catfishes from southern China.

The descriptions by Wei Zhou, Xu Li and Ying Yang are published in the latest issue of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology as part of a review of the catfish genus Pseudecheneis in China.

The four new species named are Pseudecheneis brachyura and P. gracilis from the upper Irrawaddy River drainage, and P. longipectoralis and P. paucipunctata from the upper Salween River drainage.

Pseudecheneis brachyuraThis species is distinguished from other members of the genus in having a combination of: 14"20 transverse ridges of the thoracic adhesive apparatus; forked neural spine of the complex vertebra; yellow spots on the surfaces of the body; length of caudal peduncle 19.9"30.0% standard length; pelvic fin reaching the base of the first anal-fin ray; pectoral fin reaching the origin of the pelvic fin; length of adipose-fin base 125.0"166.7% length of anal-fin base; and separate pelvic fins.

This species is named after the shorter caudal peduncle of this species compared to P. gracilis and P. stenura, two other congeners found in the same river drainage (Greek brachys = short and oura = tail). It should be noted that the description originally gives the specific epithet as brachyurus; the correct form should be brachyura.

Pseudecheneis gracilisPseudecheneis gracilis is distinguished from other members of the genus in having a combination of: pelvic fin reaching the base of the first anal-fin ray; pectoral fin reaching the origin of the pelvic fin; length of adipose-fin base 125.0"166.7% length of anal-fin base; separate pelvic fins; length of caudal peduncle 27.5"35.8% standard length; a deeply-forked caudal fin with the shortest ray of the fin about 50% the length of the longest; length of pectoral fin 27.1"30.6% standard length; yellow spots on the surfaces of the body, of which the one at the dorsal-fin origin is saddle-shaped; head length 14.9"18.6% standard length; postorbital head length 4.5"5.9% head length; and body depth 73.9"112.2% head length.

The species is named after its elongate, slender body (from the Latin gracilis, meaning slender).

Pseudecheneis longipectoralis by Heok Hee Ng.

Pseudecheneis longipectoralisThis species is distinguished from other members of the genus in having a combination of: pelvic fin reaching the base of the first anal-fin ray; pectoral fin reaching the origin of the pelvic fin; length of adipose-fin base 125.0"166.7% length of anal-fin base; separate pelvic fins; length of pectoral fin 28.7"38.1% standard length; and yellow spots on the surfaces of the body.

The species is named after its long pectoral fins (Latin longus = long, and pectoralis = of the breast, i.e. the pectoral fin).

Pseudecheneis paucipunctataThis species is distinguished from other members of the genus in having a combination of: pelvic fin reaching the base of the first anal-fin ray; pectoral fin reaching the origin of the pelvic fin; length of adipose-fin base 125.0"166.7% length of anal-fin base; separate pelvic fins; 14"18 transverse ridges of the thoracic adhesive apparatus; forked neural spine of the complex vertebra; yellow spots on the surfaces of the body, but absent on and near the back of the head; and length of caudal peduncle 23.9"29.3% standard length.

The species is named after the absence of spots on and near the back of the head (Latin paucus = few and puncta = spot).

It should be noted that the description originally gives the specific epithet as paucipunctatus; the correct form should be paucipunctata.

For more information, see the paper: Zhou, W, X Li and Y Yang (2008) A review of the catfish genus Peudecheneis (Siluriformes: Sisoridae) from China, with the description of four new species from Yunnan. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 56, pp. 107"124.