New species of mochokid catfish described


American scientists have described a new species of mochokid catfish from the tributaries of the Kasai River in northern Angola in the latest issue of the journal Copeia.

The new species, named Synodontis macropunctata by authors Jeremy Wright and Lawrence Page, is distinguished from other members of the genus in the Congo River drainage by a combination of the following characters: colour pattern consisting of large, discrete, widely spaced dark spots; minute, villous papillae on the skin; 27"35 mandibular teeth; 9"10 branched pectoral-fin rays; the lack of a distinct membrane on the maxillary barbel; interrupted premaxillary toothpad; 8"11 branches on the lateral mandibular barbel; and comparatively longer maxillary (138.2"176.3% head length), inner mandibular (87.2"107.9% head length), and outer mandibular (38.5"54.5% head length) barbels.

The new species is named after the large spots on the body (macros - long in Greek, often taken to mean large; and puncta - spot in Latin).

For more information, see the paper: Wright, JJ and LM Page (2008) A new species of Synodontis (Siluriformes: Mochokidae) from tributaries of the Kasai River in northern Angola. Copeia 2008, pp. 294"300.