New curimatid found in Peru

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A new species of characin from the family Curimatidae has been found in Peru.

The fish, which has been named Cyphocharax derami by Richard Vari and Fonchii Chang was described in a paper in the latest issue of the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

Cyphocharax derami was found at two separate localities in northeastern Peru and is believed to be a rare species, as previous ichthyological studies of samples of Cyphocharax collected in the area had failed to reveal the species before."Previous ichthyological studies of samples of Cyphocharax collected in the area had failed to reveal the species before..."The new fish can be told apart from other Cyphocharax by a number of meristic and morphological characters and by its distinctive colouration - it has a dark bar running from the back of the orbit to the rear of the gill cover.

CyphocharaxThe species is one of around 34 species in the Cyphocharax genus, most of which are detritivorous fishes which vaguely resemble drab versions of Semaprochilodus sometimes kept in aquariums. The fish typically reach a size of around 20cm/10".

Vari revised the curimatid genus Cyphocharax in 1992 and named a multitude of new species including aspilos, festivus, gangamon, gouldingi, meniscaprorus, mestomyllon, nigripinnis, oenas, signatus, stilbolepis and vexillapinnus.

Vari and Chang say that, although knowledge of Cyphocharax has increased since Vari's revision was published, we still don't know that much about the group, as subsequent work found another new species, C. laticlavius a few years after the revision was published, and extended the known range of gouldingi.

The new species was named in honour of Patrick de Rham, who had been involved in the collection of the new species with Fonchii Chang.

Patrick de Rham is best known in the fishkeeping world for his studies of the cichlid fishes of Madagascar.

For more information on the new curimatid species see the paper: Vari RP and F Chang (2006) - Cyphocharax derhami, a new species (Ostariophysi: Characiformes: Curimatidae) from northeastern Peru. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, Vol. 17, No 1. pp 93-96.