Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify new catfish family

14.06.2005


A team of researchers from Mexico and the United States has identified a new family of catfish in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The paper detailing the discovery has been published in Zootaxa, an online scientific journal.


Lacantunia enigmatica, Holotype specimen ECO-SC 3859, 427 mm SL. A. Lateral view. B. Ventral view. C. Dorsal view.



They’ve named the new family Lacantuniidae and named the species Lacantunia enigmatica. It becomes the 37th family of catfishes, a diverse group of fish found around the world.

Discovery of new families of living vertebrates is rare; in ichthyology there have been just two new families discovered in the past 60 years: the coelacanth in 1938 and the megamouth shark in 1983.


The researchers are Dr. Rocio Rodiles-Hernandez of the Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Dr. Dean Hendrickson and Dr. Julian Humphries of The University of Texas at Austin and Dr. John Lundberg of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Thorough anatomical studies of the fish document its status as a new family and show that the fish is the only member of an ancient group that may have arisen while dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The fish’s skeleton was scanned by high-resolution computer tomographic equipment at The University of Texas at Austin. “To most people it’s just a catfish, and externally it looks a lot like an ictalurid, the family to which all North American freshwater catfishes belong,” Hendrickson said. “But once we got into the skeleton, we started seeing all these weird things.”

A barbel (the part that resembles a cat’s whisker) is articulated differently from that of an ictalurid. There also are differences in the bone structure of the skull and in the shape of the air bladder. “The ictalurids all have these big jaw muscles that come up over the top and anchor on top of the head,” Hendrickson said. “This has a very narrow cranium and the muscles anchor to the sides of the bone instead of coming up on top. That and a number of other characters clearly indicate it has nothing to do with ictalurids.”

The animal and plant life of Mesoamerica is exceptionally diverse with distinct origins from North America, South America and adjacent oceans. They said Lacantunia enigmatica appears not to fit any of those patterns and thus the name of the species reflects the mystery surrounding its origins and relationships.

The generic name of the fish reflects its distribution in the Río Lacantún drainage, flowing through the Montes Azules and Selva Lacandona Biosphere Reserves in México into that country’s largest river, the Río Usumacinta. The fish is relatively rare in that the researchers have had a hard time finding many specimens. They collected just one specimen in a recent five-day expedition. The researchers are concerned about the fish’s habitat, which is threatened by exploitation of the forests and possible damming of the rivers it lives in.

Research has been supported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Women’s International Science Collaboration program, CONACYT-Mexico, the National Science Foundation’s All Catfish Species Inventory Project, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the Texas Memorial Museum at The University of Texas at Austin and El Colegio de la Frontera Sur.

The complete publication can be found at www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2005f/zt01000.pdf [PDF].

Tim Green | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>