Wednesday 30 December 2020

NOVATAXA: A New Species of Snakehead


[Ichthyology • 2020] Channa aristonei • A New Species of Snakehead (Teleostei: Channidae) from East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, Northeastern India

Channa aristonei 
Praveenraj, Thackeray, Singh, Uma, Moulitharan & Mukhim, 2020

A new species of colorful snakehead from Meghalaya, northeastern India is distinguished from all its congeners by possessing a uniform bright blue to bluish-green body, bright-blue dorsal, anal, and caudal fins, submarginally black with white distal margin, series of brown to maroon-red, rounded, oblong or clover-shaped blotches or spots on dorsolateral, postorbital, and ventrolateral region of head, continued on body forming oblique pattern or randomly distributed. The new species superficially resembles C. pardalis and C. bipuli in appearance, but it can be distinguished from both in having brown to maroon-red, rounded, oblong or clover-shaped blotches or spots on head and sides of the body (vs. possession of well-defined, black to brown, rounded to oblong spots), fewer pre-dorsal scales (7 vs. 8–9), more caudal-fin rays (15 vs. 13), and more vertebrae (49 vs. 45). The new species differs from both C. pardalis and C. bipuli by Kimura's two-parameter (K2P) distance of 4.2–4.8 and 4.9–6.0% in the coxI gene sequence. A key to the snakehead Gachua group of the Eastern Himalayan region is provided herein.

Channa aristonei 
Holotype, BNHS FWF 1017, 136 mm SL 

Channa aristonei

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