New Garra discovered in China

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A new species of tropical fish from the Garra genus has been discovered in China.

The new fish, which has been named Garra micropulvinus, was caught in the Panlonhe, a small branch of the Yuanjiang or Upper Red River in Yunnan, China.

The species has just been described in a paper by Zhou, Pan and Kottelat in the journal Zoological Studies and appears in a work that looked at the Garra and Discogobio cyprinids of the Yuanjiang drainage.

According to the authors, Garra micropulvinus is easily told apart from all currently known Garra and Discogobio species by its unusual oral sucking disc.

The species has: "a median notch in the posterior margin of the posterior free fold of the oral sucking disc (vs. no notch) and 2-7 small fleshy buds between the skin folds and the sides of the median pad (vs. none)."

G. micropulvinus also has a dorsal fin with three spines and 7-8.5 branched rays; an anal fin with three spines and 5.5 branched rays; pectorals with one spine and 11 rays; pelvics with one spine and eight rays and 9+8 branched rays in the tail.

The fish lives in fast-flowing streams with a stony bottom and feeds on algae, and sometimes aquatic plants and insect larvae. The authors say that villagers claim that the species migrates upriver during September to December to spawn in clear pools.

The paper includes a key to the Garra and Discogobio species of the Upper Red River and a number of useful photographs of the fish and their distinguishing features to aid identification.

Garra, Discogobio and Placocheilus are the only three genera in the cyprinid subfamily Labeoinae which have an oral sucking disc formed from the lower lip.

For more details on the new species see the paper: Zhou, W X-F Pan & M Kottelat, 2005. Species of Garra and Discogobio (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in the Yuanjiang (Upper Red River) Drainage of Yunnan Province, China with a Description of a New Species. Zoological Studies 44: 445-453.