New Vietnamese miniature cyprinid placed in new genus

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Cypriniform experts Kevin Conway and Maurice Kottelat have described a new genus and species of miniature cyprinid fish from northern Vietnam.

The new cyprinid, named Araiocypris batodes in the latest issue of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, is distinguished from all other Southeast Asian cyprinids in having a combination of a soft and flexible pre-anal fin-fold extending along the ventral body surface, from the pectoral region to the anus, and widely separate anterior and posterior nostril openings, with the anterior opening at tip of a short tube.

Araiocypris batodes further differs from Southeast Asian cyprinids in having the males with two rows of tubercles along the lower jaw, with the outer row consisting of larger conical tubercles and the inner row of smaller round tubercles; minute tubercles speckled across the chest region, dorsal surface of the head and along the lower jaw; single row of minute tubercles also present along the dorsal surface of the unbranched portion of the second to fourth branched pectoral-fin rays and in a complete ring around the eye; females with minute tubercles speckled across the chest region, dorsal surface of the head and along the lower jaw only; ii.5.i or ii.6.i dorsal-fin rays, iii.15.i or iii.16 anal-fin-rays, i.4.i pelvic-fin rays, i.10.i pectoral-fin rays, 9+8 principal caudal rays; cephalic sensory canals reduced to the preoperculo-mandibular and supraorbital canals; lateral line absent.

Araiocypris batodes is a small species, the largest known individual being only 33 mm standard length.

The new species is only known from the type locality, a forest stream in northeastern Vietnam near the Chinese border.

The fish were collected in a shallow bay (with slow current and sandy bottom) of a small stream in the foothills.

The genus is named after its slender shape (in Greek, araios = thin, slender and weak and cypris = suffix commonly used in cyprinid genera) and the species is named after the conical tubercles on the head of the males (in Greek, batodes = thorny like a blackberry).

For more information, see the paper: Conway, KW and M Kottelat (2008) Araiocypris batodes, a new genus and species of cyprinid fish from northern Vietnam (Ostariophysi: Cyprinidae). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 56, pp. 101"105.