New Cyclocheilichthys named

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Scientists have described a colourful new member of the carp family from the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

Maurice Kottelat of the National University of Singapore and Miguelito Cervancia of the Western Philippines University, described the new fish as Cyclocheilichthys schoppeae in a paper in the latest issue of The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.

Cyclocheilichthys schoppeae was discovered during an ichthyological survey in the Abongan and Barbacan river basins in the north of Palawan.

The species, which reaches a size of around 10cm/4" according to the type series, is silvery white with six or seven rows of black spots running longitudinally along the flanks. The fins are yellow and orange.

The fish was collected from streams, medium and large rivers with clear water and a gravel or mud substrate. The area in which the fish lives has deforested river banks planted with crops or bamboo. The water ranges from relatively fast flowing to slow moving.

Stomach analyses revealed that the species feeds on shrimps, worms and insect larvae.

Kottelat and Cervancia say that the new Cyclocheilicthys can be distinguished from other species by the presence of 12 circumpeduncular scale rows, rather than the 16-22 rows seen in other members of the genus.

Cyclocheilichthys armatus also shares the longitudinal rows of black spots, two pairs of barbels and the small number of scale rows on the caudal peduncle (12-16), but C. schoppeae has six or seven rows of black spots on the flanks, rather than the seven or eight seen in armatus.

Kottelat and Cervancia added: "Only two species of Cyclocheilichthys are known from northern Borneo, viz. C. apogon and C. repasson. Cyclocheilichthys schoppeae is distinguished from C. apogon by the presence of two pairs of barbels (vs. no barbels), a shallower body (depth 27.8-34.4% SL, vs. 30-42), and fewer scale rows around the caudal peduncle (12, vs. 16).

"It is distinguished from C. repasson in having fewer scale rows around caudal peduncle (12, vs. 18-22), fewer scale rows around body (26, vs. 28-30, usually 30)."

The species is named in honour of Sabine Schoppe.

The Cyclocheilichthys genus contains around nine other species:

Cyclocheilichthys apogon

Cyclocheilichthys armatus

Cyclocheilichthys enoplus

Cyclocheilichthys furcatus

Cyclocheilichthys heteronema

Cyclocheilichthys janthochir

Cyclocheilichthys lagleri

Cyclocheilichthys repasson

Cyclocheilichthys sinensis

For more information see the paper: Cervancia M and M Kottelat (2007) - Cyclocheilichthys schoppeae, a new species of freshwater fish (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from northern Palawan, Philippines. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2007 55(1): 141-145.