L239 named Baryancistrus beggini

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Another L-number plec has been formally described in the latest issue of the journal Copeia.

Nathan Lujan, Mariangeles Arce and Jonathan Armbruster name Baryancistrus beggini from the upper Orinoco River drainage after Chris Beggin, the owner of an aquarium fish store in Nashville who funded the research.

The new species is distinguished from congeners by a uniformly dark black to brown base colour with a blue sheen in life, and the first three to five plates of the midventral series strongly bent and forming a distinctive keel above the pectoral fins along each side of the body.

Other characters useful for distinguishing it include: a naked abdomen, two to three symmetrical and ordered predorsal plate rows including the nuchal plate, and the last dorsal-fin ray connected to the adipose fin.

Baryancistrus beggini is known from the Ventuari and Orinoco rivers at their confluence (in Venezuela) and the Guaviare River in Colombia.

The species was found in crevices amongst boulders and examination of stomach contents revealed that it feeds on periphyton and associated microfauna growing on rocks.

Baryancistrus beggini was previously known in the aquarium trade as L239, the blue panaque or blue-fin panaque. Interestingly, this appears to be the first formal species description of a plec to mention an L-number.

Although this species is placed in the genus Baryancistrus for now, this may change in the future.

The authors write, he assignment of the new species to Baryancistrus must...be considered as tentative until such time as a more thorough comparative study of basal genera within the Panaque clade can be conducted and several currently undescribed species that might also belong within Baryancistrus can be examined.

For more information, see the paper: Lujan, NK, M Arce and JW Armbruster (2009) A new black Baryancistrus with blue sheen from the upper Orinoco (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Copeia 2009, pp. 50"56.