Two new cats discovered

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Scientists have described two new callichthyid catfishes in South America.

One of the catfishes, which has been named Lepthoplosternum ucamara was collected from a tributary of Lago Tef (Lake Tefe), in Amazonas, Brazil, while the second, which has been named L. stellatum, was discovered in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in the lower Ucayali River, Loreto, Peru.

According to the paper, L. ucamara can be told apart from other members of the Callichthyinae subfamily on the basis of the following characters: "lower lip with pointed, crenulate, triangular fleshy projections lateral to the medial notch, caudal peduncle comparatively shallow (15.7-18.9% SL), and dorsal fin usually with one unbranched and seven branched rays."

By contrast, L. stellatum has a short lower lip with "rounded projections" and a shallow caudal peduncle (15.2-17.7% SL).

The catfishes have just been described by Roberto Reis and Cintia Kaefer in a paper in the ichthyological journal Copeia and bring the total number of species in the callichthyid genus Lepthoplosternum to three.

The third fish, L. altamazonicum is now believed to be found over a much wider area than previously believed, with the range extending across the varzea floodplains of the Solimoes Amazon and its tributaries.

Reis and Kaefer provide an updated dichotomous key to the members of the genus in the paper.

For more information see: Reis, RE and CC Kaefer (2005) - Two New Species of the Neotropical Catfish Genus Lepthoplosternum (Ostariophysi: Siluriformes: Callichthyidae). Copeia 2005: 724-731.