New loach species named

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Chinese scientists have described a new genus and species of cobitid loach from southern China.

The new loach, which superficially resembles the Eurasian loach genus Cobitis, is named Bibarba bibarba in a paper published by Yongxia Chen and Yifeng Chen in the latest issue of the journal Zoologischer Anzeiger.

Bibarba differs from Cobitis in having a single lamina cicularis on the third pectoral fin ray, two pairs of barbels (one rostral, one maxillo-mandibular), a thick and short suborbital spine with a strong medio-lateral process and in lacking a black stripe extending from the occiput to through the eye to the insertion of the rostral barbel.

The new genus and species is named for the fact that it possesses only two pairs of barbels (Latin bi-, meaning two and barba, meaning beard), and is only known from the Chengjiang River, part of the upper Pearl River drainage in Guangxi Province, southern China.

The type locality of Bibarba bibarba is a slow-moving stream in a karstic area with a sandy/rocky substrate (in a region known to contain many endemic species of fish).

According to the authors, the new species ..seems to be restricted to its currently known location. If their habitat were destroyed, the new species would be faced with extinction...

For more information, see the paper: Chen, Y-X and Y-F Chen (2007) Bibarba bibarba: a new genus and species of Cobitinae (Pisces: Cypriniformes: Cobitidae) from Guangxi Province (China). Zoologischer Anzeiger 246, pp. 103"113.