Panther danio gets official name

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A new species of Danio that has been sold in shops using the code names "pantheri", "snakeskin" and "TW03" has been officially named.

A new species of Danio that has been sold in shops using the code names "pantheri", "snakeskin" and "TW03" has been officially named.

Ichthyologists Sven Kullander and Fang Fang of the Swedish Museum of Natural History named the species Danio aesculapii in a paper in the journal Zootaxa.

Kullander and Fang say the species is superficially similar to the Glowlight danio, Danio choprae (they have not adopted the use of chopraii), and also has a series of vertical bars towards the head end of the flanks. Unlike choprae, Danio aesculapii has six rather than seven branched dorsal fin rays.

Danio aesculapii is believed to be endemic to small rivers on the western slope of the Rakhine Yoma mountain range near Thandwe, Kyeintali and Sittwe in south-western Myanmar.

The species was collected in a small stream flowing out of a forest cultivation. The stream was around 3m wide and about 30cm deep with clear water and a slight current. There were no plants. Substrate consisted of pebbles, rocks and gravel.

Danio aesculapii was found alongside Aplocheileus panchax, Anguilla sp., Batasio elongatus, Olyra burmanica, Schistura sp., Channa sp., Lepidocephalichthys berdmorei, Pangio pangia, Danio sp. aff. dangila, Devario sp., Garra flavatra, Garra vittatula, Puntius binduchitra, Rasbora daniconius, R. rasbora, Eugnathogobius siamensis, Sicyopterus fasciatus, Mastacembelus armatus and Pterocryptis berdmorei.

The species was introduced into the aquarium trade by collector and exporter Thein Win who also assisted Kullander with collecting the species in the field.

The name aesculapii comes from the Latin form of the Greek word Asklepios which was "an Ancient Greek God of medicine, equipped with a staff with one or two snakes wrapped around it; a reference to the snakeskin pattern attributed to this species."

For more details see: Kullander SO and F Fang (2009) - Danio aesculapii, a new species of danio from south-western Myanmar (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Zootaxa 2164: 41-48 (2009).