New tetra discovered in Congo

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Scientists have described the first new species of tetra from Africa in over a decade.

The new fish, which is a member of the African tetra family Alestidae has been named Rhabdalestes aeratis by Melanie Stiassny and Scott Schaefer in a paper in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

The tetra was discovered in an outlet of Lake Tumba in the Irebu area of the middle Congo basin.

It's believed to be a member of the Petersiini tribe of alestid tetras, but the scientists don't yet know this for sure until further phylogenetic work has been undertaken on this taxonomically complex bunch of fishes.

Stiassny and Schaefer say that the new Rhabdalestes can be told apart from others in the Petersiini tribe (which is probably not monophyletic) by its slender form, complete lateral line with 27-28 pored scales, 14-15 branched anal fin rays and 17-19 gill rakers on the lower part of the first gill arch.

It also has quite striking colouration, with a dark dorsal surface and head, dark scale margins and a reflective bronze colour.

For more details on the new species of tetra see the paper: Stiassny, MLJ and SA Schaefer (2005) - Rhabdalestes aeratis, new species (Characiformes: Alestidae): first occurrence of the genus from the Middle Congo River basin. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. Vol. 16. No. 3. 271-278.