Sunday 25 March 2012

New species of Armored Catfish from Ecuador.

Armored Catfish, known in the aquaria trade as 'plecs' are freshwater Catfish from South America, noted for their sucker-like mouthparts and thick, armored scales. There are over 700 species, making them the largest group of Catfish, though the exact number of species is unclear, due both to a steady stream of new discoveries, and a series of taxonomic disputes about which species are valid.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 22 March 2012, Milton Tan and Jonathan Armbruster, both of the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn University, describe a new species of Armored Catfish from the Río Santa Rosa in Ecuador.

The new species is named Cordylancistrus santarosensis, the Santa Rosa Armored Catfish. It is roughly 70 mm long, and distinguished by having armored plates on its snout, but not the flanks of its head; most closely related fish having either armored or unarmored heads. It is known from a single location on the Río Santa Rosa.

Cordylancistrus santarosensis. Tan & Armbruster (2012).

Map of the freshwater basins of northeast South America, showing the location where Cordylancistrus santarosensis was found. Tan & Armbruster (2012).