L-number catfish gets name

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An L-number plec from the loricariid catfish genus Hemiancistrus has been described by an international team of scientists.

The catfish, named Hemiancistrus guahiborum, was described by David Werneke, Jon Armruster, Nathan Lujan and Donald Taphorn in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology and was discovered in the upper and middle Orinoco drainage in Southern Venezuela.

The authors say that the new species can be told apart from all other Hemiancistrus and Peckoltia (apart from P. braueri and cavatica) by the presence of a distinctive orange edge to its dorsal and caudal fins.

Unlike Peckoltia cavatica and braueri, the new species has a uniformly coloured or lightly spotted dorsal fin, rather than a pattern of dark spots which form bands. The Peckoltia also have dark dorsal saddles which aren't seen in guahiborum.

Most specimens were captured among cracks and crevices in rocks in the fast flowing waters of the Rio Orinoco and its tributaries, including the Caura, Ventuari, Ocamo and Casiquiare.

Analyses of the gut contents revealed mainly digested materials, but the scientists did manage to identify that the species had been feeding upon midge larvae, flies and other insects.

They believe that the species feeds by scraping algae off the rocks with its specialised teeth, so it's predominantly a herbivore but also ingests any crustaceans it finds too.

Which L-number is it?Unfortunately, the scientists describing new species of loricariid catfish rarely make any reference to the L-numbers for the fish that are in use by those in the aquarium hobby.

According to discussions at Planet Catfish, the L-numbers L106 and L122 appear to have been lumped within this species.

However, some fishkeeping experts believe that both L106 and L122 can actually be told apart, and may in fact represent different species.

For more details on the new species: Werneke DC; Armbruster JW; Lujan NK and DC Taphorn (2005) - Hemiancistrus guahiborum, a new suckermouth armored catfish from Southern Venezuela (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Neotropical Ichthyology, 3(4): 543-548.