Redtail garras, identified for his or her brilliant orange tails and elongated snouts, are common aquarium fish, however details about their biology has been scarce till not too long ago — after they have been described as a brand new species.Redtail garras primarily eat algae and arthropods by scraping them off rocks utilizing specialised mouthparts. They have distinctive options like a snout lined in tubercles, that are hardened scales used as weapons.The species was named in honor of Nonn Panitvong, a Thai businessman and naturalist acknowledged for his efforts in biodiversity conservation.The late recognition of the redtail garra emphasizes the necessity to higher perceive biodiversity in understudied areas, and displays the underestimate of fish variety in Southeast Asia.
With their brilliant orange tails and elongated snouts, redtail garras are a well-liked aquarium fish. Yet whereas these fish have graced aquariums for many years, details about their biology has been laborious to seek out — as a result of they have been only in the near past described by science.
During his fieldwork, Larry Page, a curator on the Florida Museum of Natural History, discovered a number of redtail garras (Garra panitvongi) restricted to a small part of the Kasat River on the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Their habitat is remoted and laborious to succeed in, so, regardless of being a globally acknowledged aquarium fish, redtail garras are relatively obscure within the wild.
“When we first collected specimens, we thought it should be widespread in Myanmar due to its recognition within the aquarium commerce,” Page mentioned. “But it seems it’s not. It’s solely within the Ataran River Basin.”
(A) The sort of habitat the place the redtail garra is discovered. (B) Redtail garra of their residence within the Kasat River, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand. Photos in B by Nonn Panitvong.
Populations of redtail garra have solely been discovered the place we see the black dot on the map, in a river basin that crosses the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Image by Tangjitjaroen et al. (2023) CC BY.
The official description of the redtail garra has now been revealed within the journal Zootaxa. This new species provides to the almost 200 species of fish within the Garra genus, probably the most extensively distributed globally. Garras are discovered from the Middle East to India, West Africa and Asia. However, analysis on their pure historical past and relationships inside the genus is missing.
“There’s surprisingly little data on their pure historical past,” Page mentioned. “Most of them reside in fast-moving water, they usually have a disk-like construction shaped from a modification of the decrease lip, which they use as an adhesive pad to cling to rocks and preserve their place within the water column as they feed.”
Redtail garras primarily eat algae and generally arthropods, scraping them off rocks utilizing specialised mouth components. This “cleansing characteristic” makes them good aquarium fish. They have a singular snout lined in tubercles, that are hardened scales used as weapons. Their elongated snout and purple tails make them distinct.
Many Garra species have faces and snouts encrusted with barbed nodules known as tubercles, which can be used to draw mates or to fend off adversaries. Image by Tangjitjaroen et al. (2023), CC-BY
The authors say the late recognition of the redtail garra as a brand new species highlights the necessity to higher perceive biodiversity in less-studied areas. Many fish in Southeast Asia have been misidentified as species from different areas, resulting in a major underestimate of their variety.
The new species title is Garra panitvongi, in honor of Nonn Panitvong, a Thai businessman and naturalist acknowledged for his efforts in biodiversity conservation. Panitvong developed a ardour for nature at a younger age and created the platform Siamensis.org to share details about Thailand’s wildlife. He mentioned his father’s fishing journeys sparked a deep admiration for Thailand’s aquatic life.
“Over the years, I discovered that in lots of the locations we went fishing, the environments have been getting worse. There have been fewer fish total, and the fish assemblage modified for the more serious, with a lowering variety of native species and extra invasives,” Panitvong mentioned.
He mentioned discovering and describing new species, just like the redtail garra, contributes to our understanding of the world’s biodiversity and helps us respect our place as a species within the bigger pure context.
“I prefer to think about humanity in a giant room, painted in white. As we circled, we might haven’t any conception of which route we have been going through,” Panitvong mentioned. “With every new discovery, a dot is added, some extent made, and we all know increasingly more about the place we stand as a species.”
Tangjitjaroen, W., Randall, Z. S., Tongnunui, S., Boyd, D. A., & Page, L. M. (2023). Species of Garra (Cyprinidae: Labeoninae) within the Salween River basin with description of an enigmatic new species from the Ataran River drainage of Thailand and Myanmar. Zootaxa, 5311(3), 375-392. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.5311.3.3
Banner picture of Redtail garra fish from Tangjitjaroen et al. (2023).
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