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 Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch
22.05.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>