New freshwater sand goby named

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Scientists from the UK and the Czech Republic have described a new species of freshwater sand-goby from the Moraa River drainage in southern Montenegro.

The new goby is named Potamischus montengrensis by Peter Miller and Radek anda in the latest issue of the Journal of Fish Biology.

Potamischus montenegrensis, along with P. canestrinii, is distinguished from other members of the genus in having the head canal system reduced, ranging from merely occlusion of preopercular pore ' to loss of all canals; a wide range in body squamation, from continuous lateral cover more or less narrowed along the midline to separation of axillary and caudal areas in P. canestrinii and complete loss of the caudal patch in P. montenegrensis; numerous small but intense black spots, conspicuous over the head and body in P. canestrinii, especially in males, but more evident on the head in male P. montenegrensis.

The two species are also the only ones in the genus with populations found exclusively in freshwaters.

Potamischus montenegrensis (the new species is named after its collection locality) is distinguished from P. canestrinii in having scales only on the axilla, behind the pectoral fin, dark spots chiefly on the head, most distinct in males and consistently lacking the preopercular and posterior oculoscapular head canals.

According to the authors, t the type-locality, P. montenegrensis was caught in the shallows of the Moraa and in pools remaining in gravel pits after river flooding. The substratum was gravel, covered with fine sediment and overgrown by dense filamentous algae, within which gobies were concealed.

Current in the shallows was slow, c. 0 1 ms-1. Non-gobiid fishes in this microhabitat were the cobitids Barbatula zetensis (ori*) and Cobitis ohridanus Karaman, cyprinids Barbus rebeli Koller, Phoxinus phoxinus (L.), Squalius cephalus (L.), Cyprinus carpio L., Gobio gobio (L.), Rutilus ohridanus (Karaman), Pseudorasbora parva (Temminck & Schlegel), Carassius auratus (L.), Alburnus scoranza Heckel & Kner, Telestes montenigrinus (Vukovi*), Pachychilon pictum (Heckel a Kner), gasterosteid Gasterosteus aculeatus L., blenniid Salaria fluviatilis (Asso) and a lamprey, Lethenteron zanandreai (Vladykov).

For more information, see the paper: Miller, PJ and R anda (2008) A new West Balkanian sand-goby (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Journal of Fish Biology 72, pp. 259"270.