New sponge-eating anostomid found

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A new species of anostomid fish which feeds on freshwater sponges has been found in the Rio Xingu in Brazil.

The characin, which is a member of the Anostomidae family, has been named Anostomoides passionis and was discovered in the fast flowing waters of Brazil's Rio Xingu drainage where it feeds on freshwater sponges.

Geraldo Mendes Dos Santos and Jansen Zuanon described the new fish today in a paper in the systematics journal Zootaxa.

The fish is one of only three known species in the Anostomoides genus and is believed to reach a size of around 30cm/12" in length. The other two species, Anostomoides laticeps and Anostomoides atrianalis reach about 20 and 40cm in length respectively.

The new fish has a very striking colour pattern with a grey-brown base colour and two heart-shaped black marks on the body, one under the dorsal and one above the origin of the anal fin.

For more details on the new discovery see the paper: Dos Santos GM and J Zuanon (2006) - Anostomoides passionis, a new fish species from rio Xingu, Brasil (Characiformes: Anostomidae). Zootaxa 1168: 59-68 (2006)