New Psilorhynchus described from Western Ghats


A new species of the genus Psilorhynchus has been described from the Western Ghats of Peninsular India in the most recent volume of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.

The new species, named Psilorhynchus tenura by Indian scientists Muthukumarasamy Arunachalam and Murugan Muralidharan, is most similar to Psilorhynchus balitora, P. gracilis and P. sucatio in overall appearance.

Psilorhynchus tenura is easily distinguished from these aforementioned species by a combination of characteristics, including: a long, slender caudal peduncle (tail region), a higher number of lateral line scales, a higher number of predorsal scale rows, and a scaleless ventral surface between pectoral fins.

Arunachalam and Muralidharan named the new species tenura (derived from a combination of the latin tenuis, meaning thin or slender, and the Greek oura, meaning tail) in reference to long and slender appearance of its tail region.

Species of Psilorhynchus, which are commonly referred to as torrent minnows, inhabit the bottom region of swiftly flowing streams and rivers. One species, P. pseudecheneis, even inhabits the torrential rivers of the Himalayan foothills surrounding the base of Mount Everest. They are rarely encountered in the aquarium trade but likely require similar conditions to their distant relatives, the hill-stream loaches (family Balitoridae), which are popular aquarium fishes.

Prior to the description of P. tenura species of Psilorhynchus were known only from Northern India and adjacent countries (including Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China). The description of the new species represents the first record of the genus from Peninsular India and significantly expands the known range of the genus.

For more information on the new species, see the paper: Arunchalam, M. and Muralidharan, M. 2008. Description of a new species of the genus Psilorhynchus (Teleostei: Psilorhynchidae) from a Western Ghats stream in Southern India. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 56(2): 405-414.