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[APD] Amazon "mystery" fish is a new species, say scientists

a little bit old but still quite interesting... i
wonder if at least they know what order this fish
belongs to????  in the amazon, 4 orders predominate:
Characiformes, Siluriformes, Perciformes (Cichlids)
and Gymnotiformes.  then there are the various invader
fish families of marine origin.

Amazon "mystery" fish is a new species, say scientists

Friday, July 04, 2003
By Reuters

SAO PAULO, Brazil ? Scientists in Brazil's Amazon say
they have discovered a new fish, something that has
not happened for more than a century. They hope to
categorize the small eel-like creature by the end of
the year. 
"It's a new species, which will require us to create a
new genus and a whole new family to accommodate it,"
said Jansen Zuanon, head aquatic biology researcher at
Brazil's National Amazon Research Institute (Inpa).
Swiss Inpa researcher Ilse Walker came across the fish
in 1999 while carrying out research on shrimp in flood
plains near Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state.
Since then a team of four researchers have studied
several specimens.
"It still doesn't have a name," Zuanon said. "We have
been calling it the mystery fish because it didn't fit
into any group.... It's long-bodied with a mixture of
characteristics which are quite different from any
other Amazon fish group. A new family of fish hasn't
been categorized in probably the last 150 years," the
biologist said, adding that the discovery of new
species was quite common.
The finding is the latest example of the diversity of
the Amazon, an area of tropical forest larger than
Western Europe that is home to up to 30 percent of the
planet's animal and plant species.
The fish has a long thin body like an eel but also has
a full set of fins, Zuanon said. Although the
carnivore only measures about 6 inches, it has a tail
like the Pirarucu, one of the world's largest
freshwater fish.
Curiously it also has up to 10 air chambers, compared
to the usual two or three that fish use to hold their
position underwater, leading the scientists to believe
it can breathe at the surface, Zuanon said.
"As far as we know, it eats small shrimp and aquatic
insects, it reproduces at the start of the rains, and
it has this extra breathing ability ... and it doesn't
just depend on oxygen that has been dissolved in the
water," he said.

Source: Reuters

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