Thursday, May 25, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] Compsaraia iara • A New Species of Deep-Channel Electric Knifefish Compsaraia (Apteronotidae, Gymnotiformes) from the Amazon River


Compsaraia iara
Bernt & Albert, 2017
  DOI: 10.1643/CI-16-529 
The deep channels of large rivers throughout the humid Neotropics are occupied by diverse and abundant assemblages of electric knifefishes. Historically this habitat has been poorly sampled, but extensive benthic trawling efforts in the Brazilian Amazon in the 1990s produced large numbers of electric fishes especially in the family Apteronotidae. A large number of these specimens, initially identified as Porotergus, have been found to belong within Compsaraia, a genus with two species described from the Orinoco and western Amazon. From this material we describe a new species, from the Amazon River in Brazil, and provide a new diagnosis for the genus. This species is readily distinguished from congeners by a short, rounded snout and small, subterminal mouth with reduced dentition. This species inhabits large rivers in the Eastern and Central Amazon between Ilha Grande de Gurupá and the mouth of the Rio Içá. This description brings the total number of valid apteronotid species to 95.

Fig. 3. Detail of head and pigmentation for Compsaraia samueli (top), MUSM 37172, 241 mm TL, and Compsaraia iara, FMNH 128428, 235 mm TL in lateral view (A), dorsal view (B), and ventral view (C). Scale bar equals 1 cm. 

Compsaraia iara, new species

Etymology.— This species is named for the Iara, a water nymph from Tupi-Brazilian folklore said to reside in the rivers of the Brazilian Amazon and often blamed for the disappearance of fishermen. A noun in apposition. 


Maxwell J. Bernt and James S. Albert. 2017. A New Species of Deep-Channel Electric Knifefish Compsaraia (Apteronotidae, Gymnotiformes) from the Amazon River.
 Copeia. 105(2); 211-219.  DOI: 10.1643/CI-16-529

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