New fish is named after Batman

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Holy mackerel - a taxonomist has named a new species of catfish after the caped crusader, Batman.

The new loricariid catfish is a member of the hypoptopomatine genus Otocinclus and has a dark marking on its tail resembling the Batman logo.

Ichthyologist Pablo Lehmann, of the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, has named the species Otocinclus batmani in a paper in the current volume of the journal Neotropical Ichthyology.

"The name batmani, alludes to Bob Kane's hero Batman of the comic adventures, which had a bat shape for his symbol, referring to the single W- or bat-shaped vertical spot on the caudal fin", wrote Lehmann.

"The new species is distinguished from all other Otocinclus, except O. cocama , by having a single, intensely pigmented, vertical W-shaped caudal fin spot, and by having three discrete dark bands on the dorsum, between the dorsal-fin base and the caudal fin.

"Otocinclus batmani differs from the O. cocama by the absence of vertically elongated blotches from the dorsal midline to the ventral border of flanks, and by lacking the posterior extension of black pigmentation on the base of two central caudal-fin rays."

The new species was discovered from the Rio Pure in Colombia and two creeks draining into the Rio Amazonas near Iquitos in Peru. Like other members of the genus, this species is small, with most of the type specimens collected measuring just under 4cm long.

Lehmann believes that Otocinclus batmani is a member of Schaefer's clade B of Otocinclus, which originally included O. bororo, O. mariae, O. mura and O. huaorani - all of which have 20 or more teeth on the premaxilla.

The species is the second fish to be named after Batman. The first was a goby from the west central Pacific, which was named Batman insignitus by Whitley in 1956. It has subsequently been moved to the Cryptocentrus genus and is now called C. insignitus.

For more information see the paper: Lehmann, PA (2006) - Otocinclus batmani, a new species of hypoptopomatine catfish (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from Colombia and Peru. Neotropical Ichthyology, 4(4): 379-383, 2006.