Hoplo catfish given new name

The well-known Hoplo catfish has been given a new name in a study by leading catfish experts.

Reis, Bail and Mol looked at the type specimens of a number of catfishes in the Callichthyinae subfamily and found that some members of the Megalechis genus needed rearranging.

Their paper, which was published in the journal Copeia, says that the Port hoplo, formerly known as Megalechis thoracata (Valenciennes, 1840), should now be called Megalechis picta.

The authors wrote: \"This change in the synonym of the species of Megalechis is especially confusing because the name thoracata remains valid, but applies to the species formerly known as M. personata, which becomes a new junior synonym of thoracata. On the other hand, the species formerly known as M. thoracata is now known as M. picta.\"

The discoveries were made after the scientists re-examined the holotypes of Callichthys thoracatus and Callichthys longifilis, which were used to describe the species now placed in Megalechis.

The fish were found to be those currently known as Megalechis personata, the so-called Tail-bar hoplo.

However, since C. thoracatus was described first, it has priority and is a senior synonym.

This meant that the scientists needed a new name for the current Megalechis thoracata, and the next available name was Callichthys pictus, making the new name for the fish Megalechis picta.

For more information on the name changes see the paper: Reis, RE, P-Y Le Bail and JHA Mol (2005) - New Arrangement in the Synonymy of Megalechis Reis, 1997 (Siluriformes: Callichthyidae). Copeia 2005: 678-682.

Puntius denisonii tops Kerala\'s exports

Government officials in India\

's Kerala State are urging locals to do more to cash in on the current boom in tropical fish exports.

According to a report from Web India, Kerala\'s Fisheries and Sports Minister Dominic Presentation has been promoting the aquarium industry and sees it as an ideal way to provide employment in rural areas, particularly to women.

Horabagrus catfishes, such as these nigricollaris, are one of Kerala\'s biggest exports.

Minister Presentation told Web India: \"In a world where urbanisation is the norm and space is at a premium, ornamental fish keeping is rapidly becoming the most popular hobby.\"

Presentation says that many Kerala households now depend on the ornamental fish industry for their income, and this has led to an increase in development of breeding techniques, display systems and accessories.

For more information on Puntius denisonii, see our

Fact File on this keeping and breeding this species.

Mr Gopalakrishnan Nair, Executive Director of the Fisheries Resource Management Society says that the aquarium industry in Kerala is both healthy and growing:

\"We have been breeding at least 12 species which are in high demand in the international market. This is because our climatic conditions and the character of the water bodies are the best to breed and develop them.\"

The report says that Kerala\'s biggest export is now the Red line torpedo barb, Puntius denisonii, which is known as \"Miss Kerala\", as well as other more established fishes such as the Orange chromine, Etroplus maculatus and the catfishes of the Horabagrus genus.

Nair believes that Kerala can grow its aquarium industry business so much that it could compete alongside world leaders, such as Singapore.

The State is due to hold a major event in February 2006 aimed at promoting the industry and boosting exports.

New study shows squid parental care

New footage taken by an underwater robot has shown for the first time that some squid provide parental care for their eggs, rather than depositing their clutch and leaving them to their own devices.

Scientists at the University of Rhode Island used a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, fitted with a camera to allow them to study squid in the deep waters of California\'s Monterey Canyon and filmed five Gonatus onyx squid swimming around while carrying thousands of eggs in their arms.

The footage shows the squid transporting a tubular pouch containing 2000-3000 eggs in its arms and is believed to be the first known example of parental care in a squid species.

The footage shot using the ROV operated by the team of scientists shows the squid carrying eggs in its arms. [4MB MPG Video Clip] Footage: Rhode Island University

Dr Brad Seibel, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Rhode Island worked with scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in 2000 and 2002 and the team\'s findings have just been reported in the journal Nature.

Seibel says that the squid repeatedly extend their arms, in what he believes is an intentional attempt to circulate water over the eggs to keep them well-aerated in the low-dissolved oxygen levels found in these very deep oxygen-starved waters.

The eggs mature and break away after several months, hatch out and then become free-swimming.

Picture: Rhode Island University. [Click to enlarge]

Not only is this the only known example of parental care in a squid, it\'s also provided new evidence to show that the arms and mantle musculature of squid do not always deteriorate following reproduction, which would render G. onyx incapable of caring for its clutch.

However, Seibel says that the muscles may still deteriorate to some degree as the brooding squid become poorer swimmers, making them an easier snack for predators, such as whales.

Gonatus onyx is one of the most common squid species in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but little is known about it, because it lives and reproduces in very deep water.

The squid is a member of the family Gonatidae, and the genus includes around a dozen species most of which reach around 40cm/16\" in length and are most common in the West Pacific.

New dyed tropical fish on sale

A Practical Fishkeeping reader has reported the sale of another new type of dyed fish on sale at an aquatic centre in the UK.

Reader Karen Gray contacted the magazine recently to let us know that she\'d seen some hybrid Parrot cichlids that appear to have been dyed in several places on sale at a garden centre aquatic outlet in North Lincolnshire.

Says Karen: \"I was browsing around the aquarium department of my local garden centre today when I came across the most horribly and deliberately disfigured fish I have ever seen.

\"Five large white Parrot fish were swimming around a tank, each of them had a thick red and blue stripe \"tattooed\" along their flanks and, even more grossly, the area around their mouths had been tattoed red in a grotesque parody of lipstick. \"I may sound melodramatic but I found the sight of these fish extremely upsetting. Abuse like this should be illegal.\"As Karen\'s photograph above shows, the fish indeed to appear to have been physically coloured in some way on their flanks, caudal fin and lips.

Practical Fishkeeping suspects that the fishes are produced using a similar technique to that used to mark the Kaleidoscope or Polka dot Osphronemus goramy which recently went on sale in Essex.

The method has also been used to \"paint\" words and company logos on the flanks of fish. Others have vertical bars painted on the flanks to make their colouration resemble that of naturally occurring species such as the Convict cichlid, Cryptoheros nigrofasciatus.

The artificial colouring of fish has serious health and welfare implications. Pic: Karen Gray

Unfortunately, some naiive dealers are under the mistaken impression that some of these fishes are genetically modified, which is not the case. These fishes are artificially coloured, however, the exact method used for administering the pigment has never been confirmed by the suppliers.

The store stocking the fish is not listed on our Fish Shop Finder and has not signed our pledge not to stock dyed fish.

Have your saySince the late 1990s, we have been running a successful campaign which asks stores to sign a pledge stating that they will not stock fish that have been artificially coloured with dyes. The pledge has been signed by 70% of the UK\'s aquatic stores, but recently the number of artificially coloured fish on sale in the shops has been on the rise again.

For more details on the Dyed Fish Campaign and for information on how you can get your local shop to sign up, please check out the campaign section .

Got an opinion on the sale of dyed fish? Why not read our recent blog post on this subject and leave us your comments?

Apistogramma picky over mates

Although there are dozens of very similar species in the Apistogramma genus, new research has shown that the fish are very picky in selecting a partner of the same species.

According to a study by cichlid experts Uwe Romer and Wolfgang Beisenherz, which has just been published in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, female Apistogramma cacatuoides prefer wild type males over anything else.

By keeping the females in aquaria and presenting them with a choice of sexual partners to mate with, the authors were able to determine which fish the females prefered.

Most females went for the inconspicous wild-type males of A. cacatuoides, including both wild fish and captive-bred F1 and F2 fish produce from wild stocks. They didn\'t fancy the gaudy males of the domestic strains we see on sale in the shops here.

They also chose to mate with members of their own species over closely related Apistogramma of other species, including A. juruensis, A. martini, A. panduro, or A. sp. \"brustband\".

Romer and Beisenherz claim that this supports the theory that despite their striking similarity in morphology and colouration, that many Apistogramma varieties do represent distinct species.

For more details see the paper: Romer, U and W Beisenherz (2005) - Intra- and interspecific mate choice of female Apistogramma cacatuoides (Teleostei: Cichlidae).

Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 339-345, 3 fi gs., 2 tabs., December 2005.

New catfish found in Myanmar

Scientists working in Myanmar have found another new species of tropical fish in the area.

The new catfish species was discovered in the upper Irrawaddy River basin, near Myitkyina, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and is a member of the family Sisoridae.

The species has just been described by Ralf Britz and Carl Ferraris Jr as Glyptothorax panda in a paper in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

At just 3cm in length, the tiny new fish species is believed to be the smallest known member of the Glyptothorax genus so far.

Glyptothorax panda shares a very distinctive colour pattern of vertical bands with another catfish species, Aksyis prashadi, which is found in the same area.

Britz and Ferraris reckon that this suggests a possibly mimetic relationship between the two catfishes.

They say that the new Glyptothorax species shares lots of features with members of the family Erethistidae, and believe that the finding questions \"the validity of the current distinction between the Erethistidae and the Sisoridae.\"

For more details on the new catfish see the paper: Britz, R and CJ Ferraris Jr (2005) - A diminutive new species of Glyptothorax

(Siluriformes: Sisoridae) from the upper Irrawaddy River basin, Myanmar, with comments on sisorid and erethistid phylogenetic relationships. Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 375-383, 4 figs., December 2005.

New parasitic catfish discovered

A new species of parasitic catfish has been found in Brazil.

The new fish, which has just been described as Trichomycterus pradensis in a paper in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, was found in the southern Bahia coastal rivers of northeastern Brazil.

The catfish was found in the upper and middle parts of the coastal drainges of the Rio Peruipe, Rio Itanhem and Rio Jucurucu basins which flow from the State of Minas Gerais to Bahia State.

The scientists who described the new catfish species say that it has a distinctive set of characters that set it apart from other trichomycterid catfishes found in South America:

\"It is distinguished from its congeners by having the supraorbital sensory pores s6 placed close together, a narrow opercular patch of developed odontodes, with 8-10 odontodes, and 8 branched pectoral rays. These features make T. pradensis unique within Trichomycterus.\"

For more details on the new catfish see the paper: Sarmento-Soares, LM Martins-Pinheiro, RF, Arion, Aranda, T and CC Chamon. (2005) - Trichomycterus pradensis, a new catfish from southern Bahia coastal rivers, northeastern Brazil (Siluriformes: Trichomycteridae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 289-302, 10 fi gs., 2 tabs., December 2005.

New salmon species found

A new member of the salmon family has been discovered in Russia.

The new fish species, which has been named Salvelinus vasiljevae, was found in the rivers of northwestern Sakhalin in Russia and is known from the Varnak, Ten\'gi, Pyrki and Langry river systems.

The trout-like Salvelinus vasiljevae has just been described by Safronov and Zvezdov of the Sakhalin State University in a paper in the Journal of Ichthyology, and is a member of the Char group, which are most common in cold arctic waters.

Safronov and Zvezdov say that the new char can be told apart from other Salvelinus by its distinctive low number of lateral line scales and its deep body and short caudal peduncle.

The new salmonid also has a very deep head and a wide forehead with elongated jaws. The authors claim that they couldn\'t find other salmonids in the area with characters that fell between those of this fish and other fish in the area, and they believe these factors have led to the reproductive isolation of this new species.

The Salvelinus genus contains around 45 other species and subspecies. The fish are very closely related to trout and salmon, and all are members of the family Salmonidae.

For more details on the new species see the paper: Safronov, SN and TV Zvezdov (2005) - Salvelinus vasiljevae sp. nova. A New Species of Freshwater Chars (Salmonidae, Salmoniformes) from Northwestern Sakhalin. Journal of Ichthyology, Vol. 45, No. 9, 2005.

New tetras described

Two new species of tetra from the Bryconops genus have been described from the waters of Venezuela.

The new species, which have been named Bryconops magoi and B. collettei in a paper in the journal Zootaxa, were discovered in the Orinoco and Cuyuni drainges straddling three States in Venezuela.

Bryconops magoi is a small to medium sized tetra which reaches around 6cm/2\" or so, and has a silvery base colour with a distinctive caudal spot which is red on the upper half. It was discovered in a small area around the Rio Moquete at Paso Bajito in Venezuela.

The second new species, B. collettei, has been found over a much wider area, with specimens recorded from three different States within the country.

Like magoi, collettei also has a spot on the caudal which is red on the upper half, but can be told apart via a number of morphometric characters.

Both species are similar to an existing fish, B. caudomaculatus, and the authors say that some of the fishes in museum collections identified as this species are actually members of the two new species.

The two new fish bring the total number of species in the Bryconops genus to 15. The fishes are widely distributed across much of South America, with the majority of species being most common in blackwater habitats.

For more details see the paper: Chernoff, B and A. Machado-Allison (2005) - Bryconops magoi and Bryconops collettei (Characiformes:

Characidae), two new freshwater fish species from Venezuela, with comments on B. caudomaculatus (Gnther). Zootaxa 1094: 1-23 (2005).

New catfish found in Mato Grosso

A new pseudopimelodid catfish from the Batrochoglanis genus has been discovered in the Mato Grosso in Brazil.

The new species, which has been named Batrochoglanis melanurus, was found in the Corrego Cancela area of Mato Grosso State in a water system which feeds the Rio Cuiba and eventually drains into the Rio Paraguai basin.

Four species of Batrochoglanis were already known to science, but none had previously been seen in the Rio Paraguai basin.

Subsequent taxonomic research by Pavanelli and Shibatta, which has just been published in the journal Zootaxa, showed the fish collected at Corrego Cancela to be a new and undescribed species and a first for the genus in the Rio Paraguai basin.

Ugly customerIn common with most members of the Pseudopimelodidae, the new fish isn\'t a great looking fish and has the stocky and bull-headed appearance that is typical to members of the Batrochoglanis genus.

Most of the specimens of the new species collected measure around 14cm/5\" in length and are brown in colour with a series of muddy stripes on the flanks and tail. The stocky little catfish gets its species name \"melanurus\" from the black colour of its caudal fin.

The species is closely related to B. raninus (formerly Pseudopimelodus raninus), a species that sometimes enters the aquarium trade.

The other species in the genus are B. raninus, B. transmontanus, B. villosus and B. acanthochiroides. Shibatta and Pavanelli provide a new details to identifying the species in the genus in the paper.

For further information see the paper: Shibatta, O and C. Pavanelli. (2005) - Description of a new Batrochoglanis species (Siluriformes,

Pseudopimelodidae) from the rio Paraguai basin, State of Mato

Grosso, Brazil. Zootaxa 1092: 21-30 (2005).

New catfish found in Vietnam

Scientists have described a new species of bagrid catfish from Central Vietnam.

Heok Hee Ng of the Fish Division at the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan and Jorg Freyhof of Leibniz-Institut fr Gewsserkologie und Binnenfischerei, Mggelseedamm described the new catfish as Pseudomystus sobrinus in a paper in the latest issue of the ichthyology journal Copeia.

The new catfish was described from some small streams on the coast of Vietnam which drain the eastern slops of the Annam Cordillera in the central region of the country.

According the Ng and Freyhof, the new catfish is similar to both siamensis and bomboides, as all three species have a striking colour bumblebee-like pattern made up of contrasting vertical bands of brown and yellow-cream.

Unlike bomboides, sobrinus has shorter maxillary barbels which reach the operculum at most, rather than past the base of the pectoral fin spine. P. bomboides also has two brown bands on the tail, rather than the single band seen on sobrinus.

P. siamensis has a less bulbous snout and a longer adipose fin base than sobrinus, as well as slightly different pectoral fin spine lengths in relation to the body.

For more details see the paper: Ng, HH and Freyhof, J. (2005) - A New Species of Pseudomystus (Teleostei: Bagridae) from Central Vietnam. Copeia: Vol. 2005, No. 4, pp. 745-750.

Two new cats discovered

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.

Meet the experts


've just launched a new section on the website in which you\'ll get a chance to find out more about the movers and shakers in the fishkeeping hobby and the aquarium trade.

The Meet the Expert section kicks off with an interview with Practical Fishkeeping contributor Pete Cottle.

Pete is a highly-experienced fishkeeper with over 40-years hands-on experience with masses of different fishes, and he\'s a regular on our Ask the Experts column.

You can find out more about the fish Pete keeps at home, what he wants to keep next and what he thinks of the hobby in the Opinion section.

'll have a new expert lined-up every week for the next few months. If there\'s someone you\'d really like to know more about, why not drop us a line with the questions you want us to ask them and we\'ll see what we can do.

Special Christmas subs offer

Subscribe to Practical Fishkeeping before Christmas and you\

'll get two free aquarium books worth 45.

If you sign up to a subscription to the magazine by quarterly direct debit you pay just 10.56 per quarter, but you\'ll also receive two books worth an incredible 45 - that\'s more than the subscription itself!

Besides the books, you\'ll get the usual 13 issues of PFK we produce every year, plus our regular supplements, such as Practical Marine Fishkeeping and our Fishkeeping Directory.

Subscribers also get their magazine before they go on sale in the shops, and you won\'t pay a penny for postage.

We also have regular giveaways and competitions in the magazine which are exclusive to subscribers, and we\'ll soon be offering special subscriber-only content on the PFK website!

The two books are available to both new and renewing subscribers.

Setting up a tropical aquarium week-by-week by Stuart Thraves

This new book shows you how to set up your tank in stages from day one to week 12 and beyond. It covers all the key topics including planning, decor, setting up, planting and maintenance. There are loads of pictures with profiles on 50 plants and 100 fish. This hardback book contains 400 colour pictures in its 208 pages. It usually retails for 20.

Focus on Freshwater Aquarium Fish by Geoff Rogers and Nick Fletcher

This stunning book where the fish are very much the stars of the show features more than 800 photographs of over 150 popular aquarium fish. It's a pictorial gallery which provides the 'wow' factor for freshwater fish - and we're sure will also inspire non-fishkeepers to take up the hobby. This hardback has 208 pages and usually retails for 25.

Get both of these books FREE with this great subscription offer.

To subscribe click here

New Garra discovered in China

A new species of tropical fish from the Garra genus has been discovered in China.

The new fish, which has been named Garra micropulvinus, was caught in the Panlonhe, a small branch of the Yuanjiang or Upper Red River in Yunnan, China.

The species has just been described in a paper by Zhou, Pan and Kottelat in the journal Zoological Studies and appears in a work that looked at the Garra and Discogobio cyprinids of the Yuanjiang drainage.

According to the authors, Garra micropulvinus is easily told apart from all currently known Garra and Discogobio species by its unusual oral sucking disc.

The species has: \"a median notch in the posterior margin of the posterior free fold of the oral sucking disc (vs. no notch) and 2-7 small fleshy buds between the skin folds and the sides of the median pad (vs. none).\"

G. micropulvinus also has a dorsal fin with three spines and 7-8.5 branched rays; an anal fin with three spines and 5.5 branched rays; pectorals with one spine and 11 rays; pelvics with one spine and eight rays and 9+8 branched rays in the tail.

The fish lives in fast-flowing streams with a stony bottom and feeds on algae, and sometimes aquatic plants and insect larvae. The authors say that villagers claim that the species migrates upriver during September to December to spawn in clear pools.

The paper includes a key to the Garra and Discogobio species of the Upper Red River and a number of useful photographs of the fish and their distinguishing features to aid identification.

Garra, Discogobio and Placocheilus are the only three genera in the cyprinid subfamily Labeoinae which have an oral sucking disc formed from the lower lip.

For more details on the new species see the paper: Zhou, W X-F Pan & M Kottelat, 2005. Species of Garra and Discogobio (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) in the Yuanjiang (Upper Red River) Drainage of Yunnan Province, China with a Description of a New Species. Zoological Studies 44: 445-453.

World\'s largest aquarium opens

The world\

's largest public aquarium is due to open in Atlanta, Georgia, today.

The Georgia Aquarium, which has cost over $200 million (127 million) to develop, will hold around 8 million gallons of water and house over 100,000 fish of over 500 different species.

The aquarium was funded by multi-millionaire businessman Bernie Marcus, who owns the Home Depot retail chain, as a gift to the city of Atlanta where he built his business empire.

There are over 500 different species of fish in the exhibit.

The aquarium is part of a revival of downtown Atlanta and is hoped to bring in lots of tourists and income to the area.

Two of the main exhibits at the new Aquarium are a pair of Whale sharks - the world\'s largest species of fish - which were imported from Taiwan some time ago.

The sharks, which are called Ralph and Norton, travelled by UPS on a Boeing 747 cargo plane which had been specially equipped to make the journey safe and comfortable for the fish. The two fish are the only Whale sharks in captivity outside of the massive aquaria of Asia.

\"When Ralph and Norton came to the Georgia Aquarium, Ralph was 16 feet long and Norton was 14 feet long weighing 2200 lbs together. Both animals now reside in a 6 million US gallon habitat specially designed for Whale sharks.\"

Captive raised trevallySome of the fish at the Aquarium have come from an aquaculture project designed to help stock the aquarium. More than 100,000 were produced on a fish farm in Taiwan and imported by plane earlier this year.

\"Many of those fish were Golden trevally,\" says the Aquarium. "For their protection, the trevally were held in a sea pen in the main exhibit when they arrived at the Georgia Aquarium in order to protect them until they grew large enough to swim among the giant group, sawfish and hammerhead to name a few.

\"Three trevally escaped and swam in front of Ralph, a filter feeding Whale shark, for months. When another hundred were released they swam in front of Ralph and Norton for a few hours, but then swarmed around the giant grouper. The original three escapee trevally continued to swim in front of Ralph.\"

Massive filtersThe centralised filtration, or \"life support system\" as it is generally called in the public aquarium world, is on a scale that dwarfs that seen in most other aquaria.

The water is cleansed by 141 pressurised sand filters, 70 protein skimmers and 65 tower reactors, all of which are similar to those used in many aquatic stores in the UK, but on a much bigger scale.

The aquarium is powered by 218 pumps providing 4160 horse power and shift an amazing 59.3 million litres per hour - enough to fill a 2.5 million litre Olympic swimming pool in under three minutes! \"The pumps provide enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool in under three minutes...\"The water is pumped through a staggering 98,170 metres (61 miles) of pipework, which is enough to stretch from London to Brighton (and go ten miles out to sea.)

Says the Aquarium: \"The Aquarium\'s life support system is controlled by a high tech system that can make 150 million decisions per second through 11 computers.

\"This system regulates the filtration in the exhibits. Additionally, Aquarium staff test the water quality twice daily. The HVAC system has 3600 tons of cooling capacity, enough to cool 1200 average sized homes. The heating and cooling capabilities of the building are desigend to maintain tight water temperature parameters in the exhibitis.\"

Getting thereThe Georgia Aquarium is located in downtown Atlanta across from Centennial Olympic Park: Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St, Atlanta, GA 30313, (404) 581-4000.

Knight gobies reshuffled

The gobies in the Knight goby genus Stigmatogobius have been reshuffled in a systematic revision.

Helen Larson of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Australia revised the gobiid genus Stigmatogobius and has just announced her findings in a paper in the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

Larson's study looked at the 18 species believed to be members of this fish family, which occurs in both fresh and brackish water, and found that just four species had the necessary characters required to keep their taxonomic position in the Stigmatogobius genus.

The four species that Larson says should remain valid Stigmatogobius species are S. borneensis, S. pleurostigma, S. sella and the Knight goby, S. sadanundio. Larson says that the Knight goby name, S. sadanundio, has been used as a catch-all term for a variety of misidentified species.

Larson believes that the Stigmatogobius are members of the Gobionellinae subfamily with the Gobiidae family and are characterised by: "a distinctive transverse pattern of infraorbital sensory papillae, a reduced headpore pattern which lacks an infraorbital pore and posterior oculoscaupular canal, the first haemal spine curving around the second anal pterygiophore in several species, 17 segmented caudal fin rays and by having one more anal fin ray than in the second dorsal fin."

Some of the other representatives previously considered to be Stigmatogobius have been moved into related genera including Redigobius, Mugilogobius, Eugnathogobius and Pseudogobius, and two new species have been described in the paper.

For more information see the paper: Larson, H. (2005) - A revision of the gobiid genus Stigmatogobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae) with descriptions of two new species. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 347-370.

Plagioscion genus revised

The South American tropical fish genus Plagioscion has been revised and the number of species it contains has been dropped to five.

The revision, which was undertaken by Lilian Cassati of UNESP (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Laboratorio de Ictiologia) in Brazil, has just been published in the systematics journal Zootaxa and considers just five of the 15 nominal species as valid taxa.

According to Cassati, the genus Plagioscio should be restricted to just five species: Plagioscion squamosissimus which is found in most freshwater drainages on the eastern side of the Andes, P. auratus which is found in the Orinoco and Amazon basins, P. magdalenae which comes from the Rio Magdalena basin, P. ternetzi from the lower Parana, Paraguay and Uruguay basins and P. montei which is found in the Amazon basin.

The Plagioscion genus, which is a member of the family Sciaenidae, is found in freshwater but most other sciaenids are marine species.

Not that much is known about the genus, but it is believed to be a representative of the sciaenid Cynoscioninae subfamily.

Several species are commercially important as food fishes in South America.

For more details see the paper: Cassati, L. (2005) - Revision of the South American freshwater genus Plagioscion (Teleostei, Perciformes, Sciaenidae). Zootaxa, 1080: 39-64 (2005).

New species of Gudgeon described

A new species of Gudgeon has been described from the River Chornaya in the Ukraine.

The fish, which has been named Gobio delyamurei, was described by Jorg Freyhof and Alexander Naseka in the latest issue of the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

G. delyamurei was found in a short stretch of western Crimea\'s River Chornaya, and is believed to be at risk of extinction, as large quantities of water are being removed from the river for irrigation.

Unlike the other Gobio species from the Black and Caspian Sea region, the new species has a short barbel which reaches to the anterior margin of the eye or just in front. It also has scales between the pectoral fins and mature males have dark grey colouration and dusky fins.

More than one gudgeonMany people have previously considered Gudgeon to be members of a single variable species, or as subspecies of Gobio gobio, however, recent evidence has suggested that the genus includes a number of distinct species.

We reported the description of a new species, Gobio kubanicus, in September 2004, after studies on the range of Gobio gobio, the common Gudgeon, showed that the range was not as previously believed.

Scientists now believe that the true Gudgeon, G. gobio, is restricted to a smaller area than previously believed. This is thought to extend from Great Britain, southern

Sweden, the basins of the North, Baltic and White seas to the Volga.

For more information on the new Gudgeon species see the paper: Freyhof, J and AM Naseka (2005) - Gobio delyamurei, a new gudgeon from Crimea, Ukraine (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 331-338, 4 fi gs., 1 tab., December 2005.

New eel found in Brazil

A new species of tropical freshwater eel has been found in the waters of northern Brazil.

The new eel, which has been named Synbranchus lampreia was found in the Rio Goiapi, near Marajo Island in Para, northern Brazil.

S. lampreia, which has recently been described by Favorito, Zanata and Assumpcao in a paper in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology, is a member of the family Synbranchidae and is one of three members of the genus.

The paper says that the new eel species differs from its congeners, Synbranchus marmoratus and S. madeira, by its distinctive colour pattern which consists of large round black blotches on a light yellow-brown background, interspersed with smaller brown speckles among the darker spots.

It also has more vertebrae than S. marmoratus and a shorter post-anal length than Synbranchus madeira.

For more details see the paper: Favorito, SE., Zanata, AM and MI Assumpcao (2005) - A new Synbranchus (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae) from ilha de Marajo, Para, Brazil, with notes on its reproductive biology and larval development. Neotropical Ichthyology, 3(3):319-328, 2005.