New species - Conta pectinata

A second species of catfish from the Indian erethistid genus Conta has been described by a leading catfish taxonomist.

Heok Hee Ng of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Michigan has described the new catfish species as Conta pectinata in the latest issue of the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

Ng is currently working on a phylogenetic study of the Erethistidae family and has been studying many of the fish in museum collections.

While he was examining some pickled fish labelled as Conta conta from the Ganges and the middle Brahmaputra river he noticed that the Brahmaputra system fish were actually a different, new species.

The Conta genus was previously considered monotypic - it only contained one other fish, Conta conta, which was described by Hamilton in 1822.

The new species differs from Conta conta, an elongate erethistid catfish with knobbly skin and a slender adhesive disc on its belly, in having different serrations on its pectoral spines, a more slender caudal peduncle and a greater average length.

For more details on the new catfish see the paper: Ng, HH (2005) - Conta pectinata, a new erethistid catfish (Teleostei: Eresthistidae) from northeast India. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, Vol. 16, No. 1. pp. 23-28.