Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify New Catfish Family

Date:
June 14, 2005
Source:
University Of Texas At Austin
Summary:
New catfish family doesn't fit into patterns established in an area of diverse life in southern Mexico region. 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.

Lacantunia enigmatica.
Credit: Dr. Rocío Rodiles-Hernández, Dean Hendrickson, John Lundberg and Julian Humphries, 2005, "Lacantunia enigmatica" (On-line), Digital Morphology.

AUSTIN, Texas—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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas At Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas At Austin. "Researchers Identify New Catfish Family." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614002440.htm>.
University Of Texas At Austin. (2005, June 14). Researchers Identify New Catfish Family. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614002440.htm
University Of Texas At Austin. "Researchers Identify New Catfish Family." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050614002440.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) — As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) — Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) — Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) — On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins