Two new Niwaella loaches described


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Chinese ichthyologists have described two new species of loach from the cobitid genus Niwaella.

Yifeng Chen and Yongxia Chen of the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, China, named the two new loaches as Niwaella longibarba and N. xinjiangensis in a paper in the latest edition of The Journal of Natural History.

Chen and Chen found that specimens of Niwaella laterimaculata, moved to the genus by Son and He in 2001, weren't in fact this species at all, but a new one which they named N. longibarba.

This fish is found the Cao'ejiang River, Huangzezhen, Chengxian County, Zhejiang Province, China.

Unlike the similar N. laterimaculata, N. longibarba has a row of slightly larger and longer dark vertical bars on the back, as well as two or three striations on the tail. As the name suggests, the barbels are also a bit longer than in other Niwaella species.

The other new species of loach, N. xinjiangensis was collected from the Xinjiang River in Guangfeng County, part of China's Jiangxi Province.

Chen and Chen say that this loach has a very distinctive colour pattern made up of between 17 and 20 large and long, dark vertical bars on the top half of the fish, as well as a dark lateral stripe which is sometimes composed of a series of closely spaced black spots.

Others in the genus include: Niwaella brevifasciata, Niwaella delicata and Niwaella multifasciata.

For more details on the new loaches see the paper: Yifeng Chen and Yongxia Chen (2005) - Revision of the genus Niwaella in China (Pisces, Cobitidae), with description of two new species. Journal of Natural History Issue: Volume 39, Number 19 / 2005. Pages: 1641 - 1651.