Tuesday 7 February 2017

Devario fangae & Devario myitkyinae: Two new species of Striped Devario from northern Myanmar.

Devarios, Devario spp., are small freshwater Cyprinid Fish found in hillstreams across South and Southeast Asia. There are currently about 38 described species from Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand, which can be divided into two groups, Barred and Striped Devarios, based upon their markings, though this probably does not reflect the true diversity of the group. There are currently six species listed from Myanmar, though one of these, Devario aequipinnatus, is almost certainly a misidentification.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 3 February 2017, Sven Kullander of the Department of Zoology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History describes two new species of Striped Devario from the Ayeyarwaddy River Basin in northern Myanmar.

The first new species is named Devario fangae, in honour of the late ichthyologist Fang Fang Kullander (wife of Sven Kullander), who first identified the new species, but sadly passed away before she was able to formally describe it. The species was found in hillstreams around Putao in Kachin State in March 1998, and is 43-61 mm in length. The specimens from which the species is described are pale creamish brown in colour with darker stripes, though they have been kept in preservative for over a decade and their original colour is unclear. 

Devario fangae. (a) Male, 47.9 mm; (b) male 58.5 mm; (c) female, 49.2 mm. All from Kachin State, Putao, Ayeyarwaddy River drainage, Nan Hto Chaung. Kullander (2017). 

The second new species is named Devario myitkyinae, in reference to the city of Myitkyina in Kachin State, near which it was discovered close to. The species is described from specimens collected from Hpa Lap stream in the upper Ayeyarwaddy River Basin by Fang Fang Kullander in 1997. These are 42.8-68.7 mm in length, and pale brown with a yellowish white belly and darker stripes in preservative, the original colour is unknown. 

Devario myitkyinae. (a) Male , 65.8 mm; (b) male, 61.8 mm; (c) female, 56.7 mm. All from Myanmar: Kachin State, Ayeyarwaddy River drainage, Hpa Lap Chaung near Myitkyina. Kullander (2017).

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