New tetra found in Brazil

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A new species of tetra has been described from the Rio Xingu basin in Brazil.

The new fish, which has been named Moenkhausia petymbuaba, has just been described in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters by Flavio Lima and Jose Birindelli of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Sao Paulo.

The tetra was found in the upper Rio Curua, a tributary of the Rio Iriri in the Rio Xingu basin.

The area in which the fish was collected lies within the Serra do Cachimbo plateau in Para State, and is one of the highest regions within the Amazon basin, as well as the home to the headwaters of the Rio Xingu and Rio Tapajos.

Lima and Birindelli say that the area is poorly known ichthyologically and the characids of the area have not been studied recently.

The new fish can be told apart from other Moenkhausia species by its prominent dark longitudinal stripe and series of dark longitudinal blotches running along the back and the top half of the body.

The Moenkhausia genus includes another 59 valid species and is currently considered incertae sedis, which means its taxonomic position is uncertain and could change in the future.

Previous studies by Malabarba and Weitzman in 2003 have suggested that the Moenkhausia genus is not monophyletic, so has evolved from more than one ancestor and may be split into separate genera in the future.

Another species, Moenkhausia pankilopteryx, was described earlier this month, and another Moenkhausia rara, described in 2004.

For more details on the new Moenkhausia see the paper: Lima FCT and JLO Birindelli (2006) - Moenkhausia petymbuaba, a new species of characid from the Serra do Cachimbo, Rio Xingu basin, Brazil (Characiformes: Characidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp 53-58.