New catfish threatened by dam project

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A new species of loricariid catfish whose long-term survival may be threatened has been described from the Orinoco River drainage in Venezuela.

The new species, named Pseudancistrus reus by authors Jonathan Armbruster and Donald Taphorn in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa, could be under threat from a recently-constructed dam that has already flooded its type locality.

Pseudancistrus reus can be distinguished from other members of the genus in having a colour pattern consisting of alternating dark and light bars.

It additionally differs from all congeners except P. genisetiger and P. papariae in having an incomplete mid-dorsal plate row and from P. genisetiger and P. papariae in having 18 contiguous mid-dorsal plates, a plateless break and then two more plates at the end of the caudal peduncle.

Pseudancistrus reus is named after its barred colour pattern (from the Latin reus, meaning one who is accused or arraigned like a defendant or a prisoner, alluding to the stereotypical striped prisoner's uniform), and is only known from two specimens collected from the Caron River (part of the Orinoco River drainage).

At the time of capture, the water conditions of the type locality were: "...water tea-colored, low conductivity (12 mho/cm), visibility ~2m, moderate current, pH 6.6, temperature 28C."

The type locality of Pseudancistrus reus is presently submerged as part of the Caruachi Reservoir and the authors state that "...it is imperative that remaining free-flowing stretches of the Caron below Guri Reservoir and the main channel of the Caron and Paragua upstream of Guri be surveyed for these and other potentially unique species."

For more information, see the paper: Armbruster, JW and DC Taphorn (2008) A new species of Pseudancistrus from the Ro Caron, Venezuela (Siluriformes: Loricariidae). Zootaxa 1731, pp. 33"41.