Three new loaches discovered


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Three new species of loach from the Gastromyzon genus have been described from the island of Borneo.

The loaches are members of the balitorid subfamily Balitorinae, which are commonly known as Chinese plecs or Hillstream suckers in the UK aquarium trade, and were all discovered in the Temburong River basin in Brunei Darussalam, on the island of Borneo.

Heok Hui Tan of the National University of Singapore and ZH Sulaiman of the University of Brunei Darussalam, found the new species during both recent ichthyological studies of the area and in museum spirit collections and described the new tropical fish in a paper in the latest issue of the journal Zootaxa.

The three new fish have been Gastromyzon cranbrooki, G. aeroides and G. venustus.

G. cranbrooki is said to be similar in appearance to G. borneensis, which is a common species in the aquarium hobby.

Unlike borneensis though, cranbrooki has an unusual secondary rostrum and 9-10 grey bars on its body, with a dark brown back marked with a pattern of grey reticulations. It also has 56-60 scales in the lateral line series.

Gastromyzon aeroides is similar in appearance to G. punctulatus, which is also commonly sold in the shops here. However, aeroides has a uniformly brown body colour, a plain brown back, and a distinctive head pattern that Tan and Sulaiman describe as "a very fine cream reticulate pattern, similar to a cream head with brown spots and blotches".

G. aeroides also has blueish dorsal, anal and caudal fins and had 47-65 scales in its lateral line series.

The last of the three new species, Gastromyzon venustus, is said to be most similar to G. pariclavis, which isn't widely seen here as far as we are aware.

This one differs from pariclavis in having a plain brown body and back and red in the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. G. venustus has 58-63 scales in lateral line.

The Gastromyzon genus is endemic to the island of Borneo and live their life stuck to rocks in rapid flowing water where they feed on algae and small invertebrates that live within them.

You can find more information on keeping these fascinating loaches in our Frequently asked questions on balitorids.

For more details on the new species see the paper: Tan, HH and Sulaiman, ZH (2006) - Three new species of Gastromyzon (Teleostei: Balitoridae) from the Temburong River basin, Brunei Darussalam, Borneo. Zootaxa 1117: 1-19 (2006).