Friday, 11 April 2014

Name of new weakly electric fish species reflects hope for peace in Central Africa

Two new species of weakly electric fishes from the Congo River basin are described in the open access journal ZooKeys. One of them, known from only a single specimen, is named "Petrocephalus boboto." "Boboto" is the word for peace in the Lingala language, the lingua franca of the Congo River, reflecting the authors' hope for peace in troubled Central Africa.

On a 2010 field trip to the Congo River of Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the riverside village of Yangambi-Lokélé, French ichthyologist Sébastien Lavoué of the Taiwan Institute of Oceanography and American ichthyologist John Sullivan of Cornell University, both specialists on mormyrid weakly electric fishes, captured a single individual of the genus Petrocephalus not quite like any they had seen before.

"Sébastien has the best eye of anyone in the world for Petrocephalus," says Sullivan. So when he wasn't certain what species it belonged to, we flagged it as one to look at carefully once we got home."



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