Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New genus of electric fish discovered in 'lost world' of South America

Date:
September 25, 2013
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A previously unknown genus of electric fish has been identified in a remote region of South America by team of international researchers. The Akawaio penak, a thin, eel-like electric fish, was discovered in the shallow, murky waters of the upper Mazaruni River is northern Guyana.

The Akawaio penak.
Credit: Nathan Lujan

A previously unknown genus of electric fish has been identified in a remote region of South America by team of international researchers including University of Toronto Scarborough professor Nathan Lovejoy.

The Akawaio penak, a thin, eel-like electric fish, was discovered in the shallow, murky waters of the upper Mazaruni River is northern Guyana.

Lovejoy's team at UTSC analyzed tissue samples collected during a recent expedition by researchers led by Hernán López-Fernández at the Royal Ontario Museum. By sequencing its DNA and reconstructing an evolutionary tree, Lovejoy's team discovered the fish is so distinct it represents a new genus, the taxonomic classification level above species.

The upper Mazaruni River is a hotspot for biological diversity, yet remains largely unexplored because of its remote location. The area contains countless rivers on top of a series of uplands that have remained isolated from the rest of South America for more than 30 million years.

"The fact this area is so remote and has been isolated for such a long time means you are quite likely to find new species," says Lovejoy.

Like other electric knifefish, Akawaio penak has a long organ running along the base of the body that produces an electric field. The electric field is too weak to stun prey but is instead used to navigate, detect objects and to communicate with other electric fish. This trait is advantageous given the murky habitats of the fish.

The species is named in honour of the Akawaio Amerindians that populate the upper Mazaruni. The region is increasingly suffering from freshwater habitat degradation as a consequence of gold-mining in the area.

"The Mazaruni contains many unique species that aren't found anywhere else in the world. It's an extremely important area in South America in terms of biodiversity," says Lovejoy.

The results of the discovery are published in the recent edition of the journal Zoologica Scripta.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Don Campbell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Javier A. Maldonado-Ocampo, Hernán López-Fernández, Donald C. Taphorn, Calvin R. Bernard, William G. R. Crampton, Nathan R. Lovejoy. Akawaio penak, a new genus and species of Neotropical electric fish (Gymnotiformes, Hypopomidae) endemic to the upper Mazaruni River in the Guiana Shield. Zoologica Scripta, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/zsc.12035

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "New genus of electric fish discovered in 'lost world' of South America." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925092233.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2013, September 25). New genus of electric fish discovered in 'lost world' of South America. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925092233.htm
University of Toronto. "New genus of electric fish discovered in 'lost world' of South America." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925092233.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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