Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Maskray

A new species of ray has been discovered in Ningaloo Marine Park. (News source.)

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Oarfish Filmed in Wild

Interesting footage of an oarfish has been captured. News details here, and video without annoying commercial here.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some New Species

A new killifish from Mozambique has medical research potential. (News source.)

A new frog from Vietnam is named after a Hong Kong hedge fund manager. (News source.)

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Heron vs Snake

Down in Maryland, a northern water snake was enjoying its meal (a fish), when it was grabbed by a great blue heron. (Pic)

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Deep Fish

Photographs of the deepest-living fish (a species of snailfish) in the Southern Hemisphere were taken by scientists in the Kermadec Trench, over 7km down. (News source.)


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Strange Animal Roundup

Just so I don't have to make more posts than necessary:

Conservationists are working with Ethiopian wolves, here.

Another brown-and-white giant panda has been found. (News source.)

A giant stingray has been filmed. (News source, with video)

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Minnesota River Monster Tale

I guess the moral to this story is that corncob wine and river monsters don't mix.

In any case, it doesn't sound like anything reptilian. Actually, except for the size, it sounds like one of the lampreys, though the native species in the Red River barely reach a foot in length, if that. But then, the corncob wine might have incited a little exaggeration...

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Hunt for Maryland Darter?

The small Maryland darter (a fish) is being hunted by biologists, to see if they can rediscover it. It hasn't been seen in about twenty years. (News source.)

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gelatinous, Scaleless Fish

First came the "scientists are baffled by strange fish" news article...

Then, NatGeo noted the identity to a group of strange "jellynose fish," though the species of this specimen is still undetermined.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

New Canadian Fish

A new species of cisco, Coregonus googelii, has been described from Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. (News source.) (Via Kevin Stewart)

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Monday, July 06, 2009

A Strange Fish from Yap

I recently ran across mention of a "mystery fish" from the Micronesian island of Yap, in Kenneth Brower's 1983 book, A Song for Satawal. Brower mentions that in a paper on ethno-ichthyology of the island, Dr. Margie Falanruw listed a fish the Yapese call galuf nu medai, translated as "monitor lizard of the sea." She noted: "Lives in mangroves, head like a crocodile, caught at night, has lizard-like skin and red meat that tastes like salmon. Three to four feet long."

It sounded interesting, so I contacted Dr. Falanruw to see if it was actually unknown. She was kind enough to provide an identification of the fish: Cymbacephalus beauforti, or crocodilefish.

But, she notes that she is currently working on the description of a new reptile from the region, so zoological discovery continues, even in a fairly well-known part of the world.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The "Giant Prehistoric Minnow"

Years ago, I came across Lost Legends of the West, by Williams & Pepper (1970). They briefly mention the story of a man in the early 1960s who caught a "giant prehistoric minnow" in Lake Mojave, which excited wildlife officials. The story is repeated in the 2007 book, Weird Las Vegas and Nevada. When I posed the question of the species of the fish on the old CZ list in 1999 (actually, I see that Matt Bille had previously queried on the subject there), Jack "Rabbit" noted that it was probably the Colorado squawfish, Ptychocheilus lucius (now called the Colorado pikeminnow). With recent advances in search capabilities, it's now possible to confirm this identification, and I can point to a closer source to the story. Desert Magazine from August 1963 gives a few details in its article on Lake Mojave. The court battle (with victory for the fisherman) for the 1960s fish's remains (noted in Lost Legends) isn't mentioned, so I am uncertain as to whether it is apocryphal. Today, of course, there would be no legal grounds for possession of an endangered fish, but as Federal protection wasn't even available until the ESA in 1973, I suppose such a court case could have happened.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun with Genetics

An interesting article in Wired on the T. rex protein research.

Lampreys lose about 20% of their genes as they develop. (News source.)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Giant Out-of-Place Arapaima?

Sightings of a giant fish ("the size of a baby elephant") in Tasik Kenyir, Malaysia, supposedly to blame for the drownings of two men, suggest the South American Arapaima to one local fish biologist, who suggests it may be an introduction. (News source.)

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Not particularly strange, but an interesting find off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ocean Life Changes

An interesting Eurekalert here about the changes in marine species' sizes and abundance levels over the last few centuries.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Under the Ocean

Some interesting video footage here from a British marine survey in the Pacific, at 7,000 meters below the surface. (via Zach Barton)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Dracula" Fish

A small fish discovered in Burma has a pair of small fangs. (News source.)

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Psychedelic Frogfish

A new frogfish has been described; Histiophryne psychedelica may be a coral mimic. (Eurekalert.)

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"Barreleye" Fish

Some interesting research by MBARI on a deep sea fish with tubular eyes and a transparent head, here.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Journey to Description

It took almost 10 years from the first photograph of an undescribed species of Grammonus in Hawaiian waters before an actual specimen could be placed in a museum collection and described. The fish was photographed and even collected in the interval, but one circumstance or another prevented its examination by experts. The paper:

Grammonus nagaredai, a New Viviparous Marine Fish (Ophidiiformes: Bythitidae) from the Hawaiian Islands
John E. Randall and Marc James Hughes
Pacific Science 63(1): 137-146 (2009)

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Climbing Catfish

A new climbing catfish has been described from Venezuela. The species "has a specialized pelvic fin that decouples from its body and moves backward and forward independently." This is "used in combination with a grasping mouth to move like an inchworm up rocks." (News source.)

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Deep-Sea Misidentifications

An interesting case where male, female, and larval forms of deep-sea whalefish were separated into three different families, and now resolved. (News source.)

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Deepest-Known Fishes

Cuvier's "rash dictum" had a twin in marine biology. "In 1843, the British naturalist Edward Forbes declared life was impossible below 300 fathoms (540 metres)." (source)

Now, the deepest-living fishes (so far) have been photographed by biologists, and it turns out they're a rather social species. (
News source.)

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Oceana Contest

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Shark Species

Two new species of swellsharks have been described from the North Pacific. (Zootaxa abstract)

Also, I've listed some new reptiles and amphibians from this past month here.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Prince Edward Island Carcass

A small decomposing marine animal was found off a Summerside boardwalk. (News source.) Looks like an American anglerfish (Lophius americanus).

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fluorescent Fish

A new study points out that a good number of marine fish fluoresce red. (News source.)

"It has long been axiomatic that red light is simply not part of the mental universe of marine fish because the sunlight's longest visible wavelengths do not penetrate below a depth of ten metres (30 feet)." ...
"This foreshortening of the color spectrum under the waves was also assumed to correspond to a narrowed field of vision in fish, said the study's lead researcher in an interview." ...
"Looking through a filter while scuba diving that blocked out the brighter green and blue light waves, leaving only red ones, they suddenly saw a whole universe of sea creatures glowing various hues of cherry, crimson, ruby and rust."


Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Giant Grouper

A new species of giant grouper was discovered when genetic research showed that Atlantic and Pacific populations were different species. (News source.)

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Friday, August 15, 2008

BBC Series Shows Fish Discovery

The BBC series Pacific Abyss shows the discovery of several new species of damselfish. (News source.)

"The most spectacular recovery was of the bright blue damselfish found 120m down off Palau. This was described recently in the scientific literature by team-member Dr Richard Pyle, from the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.
"The fish has been named Chromis abyssus in honour of the TV series.
"The story is a more complicated one, however, because Dr Pyle first saw this fish more than a decade ago. Other researchers, too, had sightings, including one from a small submersible and another from a Remotely Oerated Vehicle (ROV).
"It was during the BBC filming, though, that nine specimens were finally captured, allowing for an official scientific submission this year."

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Florida Skeleton is Big Fish

A family's skeletal find a few months back on a Florida beach turns out to be part of a large fish. (News source.)


Giant Catfish Tales

A Virginia columnist notes the spread of "giant catfish" stories. (News source.)

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Fish Sighted in Hawaii?

From the news:

"A team of Hawaii scientists may have discovered a new species of fish in the Northwest Hawaiian islands. They're a NOAA team that returned this week from an expedition to study the beautiful fish and marine life there." ...
"Dr. Jeff Drazen detailed, 'One of the animals we observed on this expedition was a fish called an eel pout. We don't know the species for certain, but it belongs to a family of fishes that have never been documented in the Hawaiian Islands.'" ...
"These were at a depth of 10,000 feet. ... 'They were attracted to the bait and they seemed to eat some of the other animals that were also attracted,' said Drazen."
"The research team plans to head back out to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands next year to catch some specimens-of eel pout and possibly other fish!"

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Friday, July 25, 2008

New Manta?

The Save Our Seas Foundation is claiming a new species of manta ray, though it hasn't actually been described yet.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Fish?

Someone in North Carolina thinks they may have seen an unidentified species of small fish:

"Abe Nail has seen some very strange fish swimming in Phillip’s Creek. Nail said the fish he saw were a bright, scarlet red with white fins, and were about 2 to 2 ¼ inches long.
"Nail said the fish come around for a few weeks in late May and early June.
"Nail thinks the fish may turn this bright red color as part of their mating ritual. He said they turn back to a drab orange after a few days." (News source.)

Given that there are probably quite a few small cyprinids in NC, I'd suspect a little-known species over an unknown species, and you'd probably need a specialist to determine that, but there was a new species of fish described in WV earlier this year, so you never know...

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Fish in West Virginia

A new species of darter has been discovered in West Virginia. (News source.)

"A new species of fish has been discovered in the lower Elk River near Charleston by a West Virginia University professor. Stuart Welsh, assistant professor in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program in the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, named the new species Crystallaria cincotta, or 'diamond darter.'
"His findings were recently published in Zootaxa, an international journal for animal taxonomists. The diamond darter is a close relative of the crystal darter (Crystallaria asprella), a small fish found in the drainage basins of the Mississippi River. Diamond darters are translucent; adults range from 3-5 inches long."

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Search on for Strange Fish

Another case of an unwitting cryptozoological investigation in mainstream science: sightings and photographs of a strange anglerfish have been taken, but the species (perhaps the family) is still unknown. (Eurekalert.) [Image: M. Snyder,]

"The fish, sighted in Indonesian waters off Ambon Island, has tan- and peach-colored zebra-striping, and rippling folds of skin that obscure its fins, making it look like a glass sculpture that Dale Chihuly might have dreamed up. But far from being hard and brittle like glass, the bodies of these fist-sized fish are soft and pliable enough to slip and slide into narrow crevices of coral reefs. It’s probably part of the reason that they've typically gone unnoticed – until now." ...
"Husband and wife Buck and Fitrie Randolph, with dive guide Toby Fadirsyair, found and photographed an individual Jan. 28 in Ambon harbor. A second adult has since been seen and two more – small, and obviously juveniles – were spotted March 26, off Ambon. One of the adults laid a mass of eggs, just spotted Tuesday." ...
"The newly found individuals have no lures so they seek their prey differently, burrowing themselves into crevices and cracks of coral reefs in search of food." ...
"With its unusual flattened face, the fish's eyes appear to be directed forward, something Pietsch says he's never seen in 40 years as an icthyologist, a scientist who studies the structure, classification and habits of fishes. Most fishes have eyes on either side of their head so that each eye sees something different. Only very few fishes have eyes whose radius of vision overlaps in front, providing binocular vision, a special attribute well developed in humans that provides the ability to accurately judge distance." ...
"Whether the new fish represent a new family will entail DNA testing and a close examination of a specimen, says Pietsch, whose anglerfish work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation. Scientists have already described 18 different families of anglerfishes and this is probably a 19th, Pietsch says. Families are large groupings, for example, all dog species belong to the larger family that includes wolves, coyotes and, even, hyenas. One can see an example of an anglerfish family, the one named Antennariidae, at, a part of the Tree of Life Web project.
"When only a single fish had been sighted, Randolph and Andy Shorten, co-owner of Maluku Divers, kept the find quiet to protect the animal. With more individuals being found, and having a better idea of where to look to find others, the two became comfortable enough to post images on the firm's Web site, see"

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hibernating Fish

An Antarctic fish, Notothenia coriiceps, essentially goes into "hibernation," entering a dormant state, during the polar winter. (News source.)


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Antarctic Discoveries

More marine discoveries from the Antarctic (fish and invertebrates):

Nat Geo gallery

Daily Mail

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Big Stingray

A rare giant freshwater stingray was caught and photographed recently in Thailand, in the Ban Pakong River. (News source.)


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New Fish

A marine biologist with the Benthic Crozet project near the Crozet islands (southern Indian Ocean) has discovered six new species of deep sea fish. (News source.)

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Monday, January 28, 2008


All kinds of weird species (like the lancetfish shown) wash up on Oregon's beaches. (News source.)

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


A non-native alligator gar was caught in Malaysia. This is the second caught in the region recently. (News source.)

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Korean Scientist on the 'Tianchi monster'

A North Korea scientist has suggested that the images of the 'Tianchi monster' captured by a Chinese photographer are large trout, the offspring of fish introduced into the lake by North Koreans 40 years ago. From the news:

"77-year-old Kim Li-tae said during an interview with the Choson Shinbo, a newspaper published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, that he was one of the North Korean researchers who released nine trout into Tianchi Lake, located on Changbai Mountain, on July 30, 1960. At a later date they released other species of fish such as carp and mosquito fish into the lake." ...
"In 2000, the Korean researchers did experimental tests on 'Tianchi trout' found in shoal waters that measured 85 centimeters in length and weighed 7.7 kilos, but they've never been able to test trout from the deeper waters of Tianchi Lake. The 'Tianchi monster' that Chinese photographer Zhuo Yongsheng, who works for a local TV station run by the administration office of the nature reserve at Mount Changbaishan, Jilin Province captured on film last month, might be a 'Tianchi trout' from the deep of the lake, Kim said."

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Light Trap

A new underwater trapping technique led to the discovery of a new species of Atlantic goby. (News source.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Celebes Sea Expedition

Notes on a recent 2007 expedition to the Celebes Sea, with plenty of photos.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Electrofishing Rediscovery

Researchers investigating the rivers in the Northern Territories, Australia, using a new method, electric currents to stun fish, have rediscovered a fish not seen for 14 years. The Lorentz's Grunter (Pingalla lorentzi) was found in two rivers. They hope to find new species as they continue. (News source.)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Big Salmon Near Loch Ness

What might be the largest salmon ever hooked in the UK was caught (and released) on the River Ness. Initial measurements were 50 inches in length, with a 40 inch girth. Images are being analyzed at a fisheries lab. (News source.)

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Monday, September 24, 2007


A foot-long albino ratfish was caught during a University of Washington research project off Whidbey Island. From the Eurekalert:

"'Ratfish usually hang out in places with soft, muddy bottoms,' says Jon Reum, the aquatic and fishery sciences doctoral student who found the albino ratfish during a UW research project. 'The typical ratfish in Puget Sound is brown or black with a smattering of white spots so it blends in with the sediments.'
"This fish was almost pure white with a crystalline layer near the surface of its skin that gave it a silvery sheen." ...

"After the albino ratfish was caught the researchers attempted to keep her alive in a bucket of water but, in spite of boards placed over the top, she managed to flip out of the bucket onto the deck during the night. She is now preserved and part of the UW Fish Collection, which has 82 other ratfish specimens, ranging from eggs to full-grown adults. The collection, which focuses on North Pacific and Bering Sea fishes, is needed by researchers on and off campus to identify species and to understand fish biology and conservation."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New Underwater Cave Fish in Hawaii

A marine fish first photographed in 1998 in a South Kona cave, Hawaii, has finally been collected and informally confirmed as a new species. The description is still being written, but the fish is in the genus Grammonus. (News source.)

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Electric Courtship

An African electric fish, Brienomyrus brachyistius, uses its weak electric signals in courtship behavior. From the research news:

"The research, which is the cover story in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, is authored by Carl D. Hopkins, Cornell professor of neurobiology and behavior, and Ryan Wong '05, who conducted the study as an undergraduate for his senior honors thesis and is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas in Austin.
'"Our study provides strong evidence that the "rasp" [a certain electric signal] is a male advertisement call during courtship in this species,' said Wong, noting that the males also serenade females with lower frequency 'creaks.'"


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Manta Ray Born in Captivity

A Japanese aquarium has announced what may be the first captive birth of a manta ray. From the news:

"The baby manta, a female, was born late Saturday in a huge fish tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, more than a year after its parents mated, the aquarium said in a statement posted Sunday on its Web site.
"In a video capturing the birth, the baby manta, rolled up like a tube, came sliding out of the mother manta, then quickly spread its fins and began swimming around." ...

"According to the aquarium, the newborn manta was more than six feet wide.
"The mother manta, which was brought to the aquarium in 1998 after hitting a fishnet off the southern island of Okinawa, about 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo, mated with its partner on June 8, 2006, and was pregnant with the baby for 374 days, according to the statement."


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Coelacanth Caught near Surface

A specimen on the coelacanth was captured alive in the waters near the Bunaken National Marine Park (North Sulawesi) in mid-May 2007.

The fish lived for 17 hours in quarantine before expiring. The fish is planned for further study.

For more information see,21985,21765466-663,00.html and


Saturday, March 10, 2007

L. Alexandrei described - new Brazilian Snapper

Lutjanus alexandrei has been described recently in the paper “A new species of snapper (Perciformes: Lutjanidae) from Brazil, with comments on the distribution of Lutijanus griseua and L. apodus” by R.L. Moura and K.C. Lindeman (in Zootaxa 1422: 31-43: 2007).

This new endemic species from Brazil has been misidentified in the past as other species, including L. apodus (schoolmaster), L. jocu and L. griseus (gray snapper) . This brings the total known western Atlantic species of snapper to 12.

First known to be different in 2003, the species was further acknowledged as being unique through subsequent morphological examinations in the field and museum specimens.

Having a reddish body and fins, blue spots, and white lines along its surface, this snapper is a rather stunning fish indeed. Named after naturalist Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira, this new snapper has had the common name of Brazilian Snapper proposed.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Galaxy rasbora placed in new genus

Galaxy rasbora placed in new genus

"Microrasbora sp 'Galaxy' has been officially described and placed in a new genus. Tyson Roberts today described the new species as Celestichthys margaritatus in a paper in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. He has also given the fish the new common name of Celestial pearl danio. Roberts says that the new species is a member of the cyprinid subfamily Danioninae and is most closely related to two danionins from Inle Lake in Myanmar, Microrasbora rubescens and "Microrasbora" erythromicron.

"Prior to its official description, the fish was only tentatively considered a member of the Microrasbora genus, on account of its similarity to M. erythromicron. Roberts believes that Celestichthys margaritatus is so different to other Microrasbora that it warrants a genus of their own, possibly along with "Microrasbora" erythromicron. The fish, which was discovered in August 2006, was first covered by Practical Fishkeeping in September and featured in the Interesting Imports column in the December 2006 issue of the magazine."

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Two New sisorid catfish from the Yunnan Province

In Environmental Biology of Fishes (2007) 78:223-230, K. DePing, C.X. Yong and Y. JunXing outline in their paper "Two new species of the sisorid Genus Oreoglanis Smith from Yunnan, China (Teleostei: Sisoridae)"

The species are Oreoglanis jingdongensis and Oreoglanis immaculatus. There are described from the Mekong and Salween River Basins of the Yunnan Province in China.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Another New Catfish - Central Vietnam

In Zootaxa 1406:25-32 (2007) Heok Hee Ng and Heok Hui Tan describe a new species of Pseudecheneis catfish from Central Vietnam. Their paper is entitled Pseudecheneis maurus, a new species of glyptosternine catfish (Teleostei: Sisoridae) from Central Vietnam.

The new species is from the Song Thuy Loan in Central Vietnam and was discovered during an ichthylogical survey of the region. The genus Pseudecheneis was not known from this area, and the new species is distinguished from other members by the absence of distinct pale spots, thoracic adhesive apparatus sulcae not at midline and a short adipose fin base.

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