Wednesday 6 September 2017

Pseudacanthicus pirarara: A new species of Pleco from the Rio Xingu Basin of Brazil.

Armoured Catfish, Loricariidae, are large Catfish that have bodies covered with extensive bony scales and mouth parts 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. Members of the genus Pseudacanthicus are found in French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and northern Brazil. They are distinguished by a series of keels along their body, formed by rows of scales with sharp points. 

In a paper published in the Journal of Fish Biology on 24 October 2016, Carine Chamon of the Laboratório de Ictiologia Sistemática at the Universidade Federal do Tocantins, and Leandro Souza of the Laboratório de Ictiologia de Altamira at the Universidade Federal do Pará, describe a new species of Pseudacanthicus from the Rio Xingu Basin of Brazil.

The new species is named Pseudacanthicus pirarara, where 'pirarara' is a name commonly applied to red tailed Catfish in Brazil. The species is described from 43 specimens, ranging from 55.7 to 310 mm in length, and have distinctive orange-to-red fins and tail. The Fish was found in the Rio Xingu and a number of its tributaries, generally found in main river channels at depths of up to 15 m. They are carnivorous, feeding mainly on small invertebrates.

Pseudacanthicus pirarara in natural habitat at Gorgulho da Rita. Chamon & Souza (2016).

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