New loach named after dead Mongolian dude

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Chinese scientists have described a new species of nemacheilid loach from Northwest China.

Publishing the description of Triplophysa waisihani in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa, Liang Cao and E Zhang assign the new species to the T. labiata species-group on the basis of its widely separated anterior and posterior nostrils and absence of nuptial tubercles on the sides of the head.

The new species is named after the Chinese name for Wais Khan (Wa Si Han), a tenth-generation male offspring of the Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan, whose mausoleum is located in Dunmaza (in Yining County of the Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous region) where the type specimens were collected.

Triplophysa waisihani resembles T. labiata and T. herzensteini in having a columnar caudal peduncle with an approximately circular cross-section at its beginning, but differs from both in possessing supraorbital and infraorbital canals that are not confluent (vs. confluent); and the posterior chamber of the gas bladder connected to the anterior chamber by a long duct, twice as long as the posterior chamber (vs. connected to the anterior chamber by a shorter duct than the posterior chamber in T. labiata, or strongly reduced in T. herzensteini).

It further differs from T. labiata in the possession of an anteriorly bifurcated (vs. non-bifurcated) pelvic girdle and in the absence (vs. presence) of the fourth basibranchial, and from T. herzensteini in having a truncate or slightly convex (vs. concave) distal margin of the anal fin.

For more information, see the paper: Cao, L and E Zhang (2008) Triplophysa waisihani, a new species of nemacheiline loach from Northwest China (Pisces: Balitoridae). Zootaxa 1932, pp. 33"46.