Monday, 25 August 2014

A new species of River Loach from Rakhine State, Myanmar.

River Loaches (Nemacheilidae) are ubiquitous members of the Eurasian freshwater fauna, with at least 704 species in 46 genera found in almost every river system across the continent, but reaching maximum diversity in South and Southeast Asia. They are members of the Carp order, Cypriniformes.

In a paper published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology on 21 February 2014, Jörg Bohlen and Vendula Šlechtová of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Kamphol Udomritthiruj of AquariCORP Co. in Klong Luang, Thailand, describe a new species of River Loach from the Kyeinthali River in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

The new species is placed in the genus Schistura, and given the specific name hypsiura, meaning ‘high-tailed’. Schistura hypsiura is an elongate orange and brown striped loach reaching at least 78 mm in length, with thick lips and scales all over. The males have a distinctive flap of skin beneath their eyes.

Schistura hypsiura, Myanmar, Rakhine State: Kyeinthali River. (a, b) Male 69.1 mm long; (c) male 48.4 mm long; (d) male 48.7 mm long; (e) male 58.2 mm long; (f) female 48.2 mm long; (g) female 51.1 mm long; (h) female 72.8 mm long. Bohlen et al. (2014).

Rakhine State runs along the coast of Myanmar from the border with Bangladesh south to Gna, a distance of about 500 km. It is largely isolated from the rest of Myanmar by the Rakhine Yoma Mountains, and is home to many endemic species. The Kyeinthali is a short coastal river entirely within Rakhine State, and it is likely that Schistura hypsiura is endemic to this river system.

See also…


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