New genus created in danionine revision

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A study of the phylogenetic relationships of danionines by scientists from the Swedish Museum of Natural History has resulted in the reclassification of the group and the naming of a new genus.

In a paper published in a recent issue of the journal Zoologica Scripta, Fang Fang and coauthors examined the molecular phylogeny of the Danioninae using fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome b and nuclear rhodopsin genes from 68 species, including 43 danioinine species.

The authors analysis revealed Microrasbora rubescens, Chela, Laubuca, Devario, and Inlecypris to form a natural group (the Devario clade) with Microrasbora gatesi, M. nana and M. kubotai being in sister group position to the rest.

Based on this result and subsequent analysis of morphological characters, the authors propose the following taxonomic changes:

1.Inlecypris auropurpurea is reassigned as Devario auropurpureus.

2.Microrasbora gatesi, M. kubotai, and M. nana are reassigned to a new genus Microdevario, which is distinguished from other danioinines by a combination of skull and jaw characters.

3.Reassignment of Celestichthys margaritatus to Danio in previous studies is confirmed.

4.The membership of Chela is restricted to C. cachius. All other species previously placed in this genus are reassigned to Laubuca, except C. maassi, which is in the genus Malayochela.

For more information, see the paper: Fang, F, M Norn, TY Liao, M Kllersj and SO Kullander (2009) Molecular phylogenetic interrelationships of the south Asian cyprinid genera Danio, Devario and Microrasbora (Teleostei, Cyprinidae, Danioninae). Zoologica Scripta 38, pp. 237"256.