New tube-snouted knifefish

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Scientists have found a new species of tube-snouted knifefish in the lowland waters of the Amazon basin in Brazil.

The knifefish, which has just been named Sternarchorhynchus curumim by Carlos de Santana and William Crampton in the journal Zootaxa, is a member of the ghost knifefish family Apteronotidae.

Sternarchorhynchus curumim was found in the main river channel of Brazil's Rio Tefe where it lives in deep and dark waters and navigates and feeds using electrical discharges.

Crampton and de Santana say that the new ghost knifefish can be told apart from other relatives by its distinctive body and fin colouration, and by relative proportions of its body parts and the number of scales above the lateral line midway along its length.

Like many of the other knifefishes described recently, the study also includes details on the electrical impulses produced by the species. The discharges produced by many species are believed to be taxonomically informative and differences between them are known to occur in most species.

Sternarchorhynchus genusThe genus Sternarchorhynchus was erected by Castelnau in 1855 and contains about nine species. Three of these, S. gnomus, severii and caboclo were described by Carlos de Santana last month.

You can view the distributions of some of these species on Practical Fishkeeping's Fish Mapper application if museum data is available.

Sternarchorhynchus curvirostris

Sternarchorhynchus mesensis

Sternarchorhynchus mormyrus

Sternarchorhynchus oxyrhynchus

Sternarchorhynchus roseni

Sternarchorhynchus gnomus

Sternarchorhynchus caboclo

Sternarchorhynchus severii

Sternarchorhynchus curumim

For more details on the new fish see the paper: Crampton W and C de Santana (2006) - Sternarchorhynchus curumim (Gymnotiformes: Apteronotidae), a new species of tube-snouted ghost electric knifefish from the lowland Amazon basin, Brazil. Zootaxa 1166: 57-68 (2006).