New giant catfish found in Amazon


A new species of giant catfish has been found in the Amazon river.

The new fish, which is a member of the family Pimelodidae, has been named Brachyplatystoma capapretum.

John Lundberg of the Department of Ichthyology at The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and Alberto Akama of the Zoological Museum at the University of Sao Paulo described the new catfish in a paper in the latest edition of the journal Copeia.

The fish has been placed in a new tribe called the Brachyplatystomatini, which includes two genera, Brachyplatystoma and Platynematichthys.

B. capapretum can be told apart from other members of the genus by its characteristic dentition, which is made up of fine, densely spaced teeth in the outer jaw and sparse rows of straight and depressable teeth inside the mouth.

Like its sister species B. filamentosum, juveniles of capapretum have distinctive dark blotches on and above the lateral line.

Adult capapretum have exceptionally dark backs, and pale ventral surfaces, with a very distinct countershading line appearing around the lateral line region.

Lundberg and Akama also looked at the monotypic genera Goslinia, which includes G. platynema, and Merodontotus, which includes M. tigrinus, and concluded that they should actually be lumped in with the Brachyplatystoma.

Therefore, Goslinia platynema is now called Brachyplatystoma platynemum and Merodontotus tigirinus is now called Brachyplatystoma tigrinum.

For more details see the paper: Lundberg and Akama (2005) - Brachyplatystoma capapretum: a New Species of Goliath Catfish from the Amazon Basin, with a Reclassification of Allied Catfishes (Siluriformes: Pimelodidae). Copeia: Vol. 2005, No. 3, pp. 492-516.