New Laetacara cichlid described


German scientists have described a new species of Laetacara dwarf cichlid from the upper drainages of the Rio Orinoco and Rio Negro in Venezuela.

Wolfgang Staeck and Ingo Schindler described the new species as Laetacara fulvipinnis is a paper published in the latest volume of the journal Vertebrate Zoology.

Staeck and Schindler said that the species could be told apart from other members of the Laetacara genus by the following combination of characters: "dorsal fin usually with 15 spines and 10 rays, 23-25 scales in E1 row, dorsal fin base moderately scaly, caudal fin without a conspicuous pattern of cross series tiny light dots, and a maximum size of 74mm SL."

Blackwater habitatThe species is said to occur in blackwater habitats with clear, acid and very soft tea-coloured water, where it is normally found at the banks of brooks and small rivulets in very shallow water of just 10-50cm/4-20".

It lives among dead leaves on the bottom of the bank sides, or among submerged terrestrial vegetation growing on the banks of the brooks.

The water chemistry at one of the collection localities was recorded as pH 4.4, 26.3 degrees C, and extremely low mineral content - just 10 microsiemens/cm and GH and KH less than 1 degree.

Staeck caught the holotype, a 7.5cm male, in a lagoon in the village of Arigua, a few kilometres south of San Carlos de rio Negro, Venezuela, in February last year.

Other specimens were caught in the Rio Casiquiare, near the mouth of the Rio Pasimoni at El Ninal at the same time, but the first recorded specimens were obtained by Schindler in the Rio Orinoco, just south of Puerto Ayacucho in 1989.

The name fulvipinnis is a compound of the Latin fulvus, which means dark yellow, and the Latin pinna, which means fin.

The species is now one of five species in the Laetacara genus. Other representatives include: L. dorsigera, L. curviceps, L. thayeri and L. flavilabris.

For more details on the new species see the paper: Staeck W and I Schindler (2007) - Description of Laetacara fulvipinnis sp. n. (Teleostei: Perciformes: Cichlidae) from the upper drainages of the rio Orinoco and rio Negro in Venezuela. Vertebrate Zoology, 57 (1) 2007, 63-71.