Monday 26 December 2016

Panaqolus tankei, a new species of Tiger Pleco from the Xingu Basin of Brazil.

Armoured Catfish, Loricariidae, are large Catfish that have bodies covered with extensive bony scales and mouthparts modified to form suckers that are found in most freshwater ecosystems in South America. They are widely traded in the aquarium trade as 'Plecs' or 'Plecos', with stripey forms known as 'Tiger Plecos', and a number of species are known in the aquarium trade that have not yet formally been described in the scientific literature.

In a paper published in the journal PLoS One on 9 November 2016, Christian Andreas Cramer of the Center for Human Genetics at Philipps-University Marburg and the Laboratório de Ictiologia e Pesca at the Universidade Federal de Rondónia and Leandro Melo de Sousa of the Laboratório de Ictiologia at the Universidade Federal do Pará describe a new species of Armoured Catfish from the Xingu Basin of Pará State in Brazil.

The new species is placed in the genus Panaqolus, and given the specific name tankei, in honour of the aquarist Andreas Tanke, for his dedication to the study of Plecs of the genus Panaqolus, andfor being the first person to breed the new species in captivity. The species is small-to-medium sized for a Loricariid, with the largest recorded individual measuring 83 mm in length. The species has a yellowish brown base colouration with darker stripes.

Live coloration of Panaqolus tankei, from the region of Vitória do Xingu (live aquarium specimen). Ralf Heidemann in Cramer & de Sousa (2016).

The species is found on the lower Xingu River, downstreamBeloMonte Waterfalls, typically being found associated with sunken trees and wood. A major hydroectric power plant is currently beinf constructed on the middle reaches of the Xingu, and what effect this will have on the many Catfish species found in the river, the majority of which have very limited distributions, is unclear.

Typical habitat of Panaqolus tankei. Riverbank in Lower Xingu. Cramer & de Sousa (2016).

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