A new member of the salmon family has been discovered in Russia.
The new fish species, which has been named Salvelinus vasiljevae, was found in the rivers of northwestern Sakhalin in Russia and is known from the Varnak, Ten'gi, Pyrki and Langry river systems.
The trout-like Salvelinus vasiljevae has just been described by Safronov and Zvezdov of the Sakhalin State University in a paper in the Journal of Ichthyology, and is a member of the Char group, which are most common in cold arctic waters.
Safronov and Zvezdov say that the new char can be told apart from other Salvelinus by its distinctive low number of lateral line scales and its deep body and short caudal peduncle.
The new salmonid also has a very deep head and a wide forehead with elongated jaws. The authors claim that they couldn't find other salmonids in the area with characters that fell between those of this fish and other fish in the area, and they believe these factors have led to the reproductive isolation of this new species.
The Salvelinus genus contains around 45 other species and subspecies. The fish are very closely related to trout and salmon, and all are members of the family Salmonidae.
For more details on the new species see the paper: Safronov, SN and TV Zvezdov (2005) - Salvelinus vasiljevae sp. nova. A New Species of Freshwater Chars (Salmonidae, Salmoniformes) from Northwestern Sakhalin. Journal of Ichthyology, Vol. 45, No. 9, 2005.