New Triplophysa loach described

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Chinese scientists have described a new species of nemacheilid loach in the genus Triplophysa.

The description of the new species, named Triplophysa lixianensis by Chunlin He, Zhaobin Song and E Zhang, is published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

The new species is known from the upper Yangtze River drainage in southwestern China and can be distinguished from other members of the genus in having a combination of: a greatly reduced or absent posterior chamber of the swim bladder, columnar caudal peduncle with a roughly round cross-section at its beginning, anterior margin of the lower jaw entirely exposed or uncovered by the lower lip, short intestine forming a zigzag loop below the stomach, the dorsal-fin origin closer to the caudal-fin base than to the snout tip, the pelvic fin inserted anterior to the dorsal-fin origin, snout length 50.6"57.5% head length, eye diameter 12.3"15.4% head length, caudal peduncle length 25.1"27.1 % standard length, anal fin with five branched rays, greatly furrowed lower lip with two thick lateral lobes, and smooth or scaleless body.

Triplophysa lixianensis is named after the type locality (Lixian County) and was collected in a shallow (1.2 metres) river with a bottom composed of rocks, gravel and cobble.

The males of this species have dense aggregations of tubercles on the broadened outer pectoral-fin rays and the sides of the head.

For more information, see the paper: He, C-L, Z-B Song and E Zhang (2008) Triplophysa lixianensis, a new nemacheiline loach species (Pisces: Balitoridae) from the upper Yangtze River drainage in Sichuan Province, South China. Zootaxa 1739, pp. 41"52.