Three new species of minnow described

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Prominent Swiss ichthyologist Maurice Kottelat has described three new species of minnows from European waters.

Publishing his results in the latest issue of the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, the three new species described are Phoxinus bigerri from France and Spain, P. septimaniae from France and P. strymonicus from Greece.

Phoxinus bigerri is named after the Bigerri, a Gaul tribe that inhabited the area of the type locality.

It is known from the Adour River drainage in Southwestern France and the upper Ebro River drainage in Spain, and can be distinguished from other European members of the genus in having the distance between the tip of the first and last branched anal-fin rays 1.1"1.8 times the depth of the caudal peduncle when the fin is stretched out, the dorsal profile of the head gently sloping above the eye and then abruptly descending toward the snout, and the distal margin of the anal fin straight to convex.

Phoxinus septimaniae is known from the Mediterranean coast of France west of the Rhne to the Pyrenees (between the Vidourle River drainage to the east and the Tech River drainage to the west).

It is named after Septimania, a region of the Roman Province of Galia Narbonensis (presently Languedoc-Roussillon in France) that roughly corresponds to its distribution range. Phoxinus septimaniae differs from other European members of the genus in having the patches of breast scales continuous.

Phoxinus strymonicus is named after its type locality and known distribution, the Strymon River drainage in Greece.

It can be distinguished from other European members of the genus in having the patches of breast scales absent or reduced to very few scales.

The identity of the European minnow Phoxinus phoxinus, a popular bait fish, is also discussed in the paper.

It has been tacitly accepted until recently that only one species is found throughout European waters, but the paper presents evidence for the recognition of four species in addition to the three newly described: P. colchicus from the Caucasus, P. strandjae from the Rezvaya River drainage, P. lumaireul from the Adriatic drainages, and P. phoxinus from western and northern Europe.

Neotypes are also designated for P. phoxinus and P. aphya to fix the identities of the species.

For more information, see the paper: Kottelat, M (2007) Three new species of Phoxinus from Greece and southern France (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 18, 145"162.