Saturday, 22 December 2012

A new species of Spotted Barb from the southern Western Ghats, India.

Spotted Barbs of the genus Puntius are small Cyprinid Fish (freshwater Fish related to Carp) from India and Southeast Asia. They are colourful and popular in the aquarium trade, but their taxonomy is complex and not completely understood, with many cryptic species (species that resemble one-another closely, but which are genetically distinct), which makes species highly vulnerable to extinction.

In a paper published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa on 26 March 2012, a team of scientists led by Marcus Knight of Chennai in Tamil Nadu State, India, describe a new species of Spotted Barb from the southern Western Ghats Mountains of India.

The new species is named Puntius nigripinnis, the Black Finned Spotted Barb, due to its distinctive black fins. It also lacks the distinctive Barbels (whiskers) usually associated with Barbs. The populations assigned to the new species are not new discoveries, they were previously described as belonging to the species Puntius ticto, a name given to Spotted Barbs in India in 1822 by Francis Hamilton, from which a number of cryptic species have been differentiated from 1875 onwards.

Puntius nigripinnis, male specimen. Knight et al. (2012).

The known distribution of Puntius nigripinnisKnight et al. (2012).

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