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Long-Snouted Catfish Represents New Species and New Genus, Researchers Say

Nov 12, 2015 02:32 PM EST

Three new species of Amazonian catfish have been found in South America, prompting researchers to form a brand new genus. South American catfishes (Otothyrinae) represent the most diverse members of the catfish family Loricariidae, and can be found from the Amazon to Northern Argentina. Recently, eight catfish with elongated mouths were found in this area, and the specificity of their characteristics earned them a separate classification from their close relatives. Five of the catfish represent a previously known species, though three of the specimens represent new species altogether, according to a news release.  

 A Brazilian research team from Universidade Estadual Paulista, led by Dr. Fabio F. Roxo, nameed the new genus Curculionichthys after the newly identified species' peculiar snouts. (Scroll to read more...)

Additionally, researchers also noted that one of the new species had several dark-brown spots along its body, which is a coloration not seen on any of its other relatives. While they are not sure how the species have diversified, they believe these specimens are decedents of a common ancestor that once lived in the Amazon basin.

Catfish are named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers. They are also well-known widespread bottom-feeding fish that can be found throughout freshwater habitats and coastal regions around the world. In total, there are nearly 3,000 known species of catfish, but researchers believe there are many more that have yet to be identified.

The study's findings were recently published in the journal ZooKeys

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