New Hypostomus from Venezuela

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American scientists have described a new species of Hypostomus catfish from southern Venezuela.

The description of the new loricariid species, named Hypostomus rhantos, by Jonathan Armbruster, Leigh Tansey and Nathan Lujan is published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Hypostomus rhantos is described from the Ro Ventuari, a tributary of the upper Ro Orinoco, and can be distinguished from other members of the genus except H. micromaculatus in having extremely small spots (its name comes from the Greek rhantos, meaning sprinkled, after the tiny spots).

Hypostomus rhantos differs from H. micromaculatus in having all of the spots round and evenly distributed, keels of lateral plates well-developed, a ridge on the pterotic contiguous with the supraorbital ridge, and a fully plated abdomen.

The new species was collected in a variety of habitats, ranging from ...consolidated lateritic rocks in flow, to bedrock cracks in flow, to branches and trunks of trees in slack water.

Hypostomus rhantos has been available in the aquarium trade since 1997 under the name L242.

Although the colour patterns of H. rhantos and H. micromaculatus are very similar, the authors do not consider them to be closely related, citing the vast distance between the Upper Orinoco (H. rhantos) and Suriname (H. micromaculatus) and the fact that no species with a similar colour pattern have been found in the region between the two areas.

for more information, see the paper: Armbruster, JW, LA Tansey and NK Lujan (2007) Hypostomus rhantos,(Siluriformes: Loricariidae), a new species from southern Venezuela. Zootaxa 1553, 59"68.