New African tetra described

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A new dwarf alestid tetra has been described from the lower Congo River.

The new species, named Micralestes schelly by Melanie Stiassny and Victor Momonekene, is described as part of a review of the Micralestes of the lower Congo River published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Micralestes schelly is a small species (maximum recorded size 49 mm SL) named after the collector of the type series, Robert Schelly, and is known only from the type locality on the lower Congo River.

It can be distinguished from other members of the genus in having an elevated vertebral count of 38"40, the presence of 4"6 outer row premaxillary teeth with most of the specimens having only four outer row teeth implanted in an alternating pattern with respect to the anterior inner row premaxillary teeth, and mature males having a broad, blue-green iridescent midlateral band extending from behind the opercle to the base of the caudal fin and a band of black chromatophores above the anal fin.

Five other species of Micralestes are known to occur in the lower 350 km of the Congo River: M. acutidens, M. humilis, M. lualabae, M. holargyreus and M. stormsi, with M. holargyreus being the only other species besides M. schelly that is endemic to the lower Congo River.

The paper also provides a key to the species of Micralestes found in the lower Congo River.

For more information, see the paper: Stiassny, MLJ & V Mamonokene (2007) Micralestes (Characiformes, Alestidae) of the lowe Congo River, with a description of a new species endemic to the lower Congo River rapids in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zootaxa 1614, pp. 17"29.