Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Three new American fish

New vertebrates from North America are fairly rare. Indeed, it surprises some people to learn there are any such discoveries at all, even those concerning small fish. Here, however, is the tale of three new American darters from the drainage areas of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.
We have the The Citico darter, Etheostoma sitikuense, the Marbled darter, E. marmorpinnum, and the most distinctive member of the trio, the Tuxedo darter, E. lemniscatum, distinguished in part by distinct black bands on its fins. The latter's specific name means "adorned with ribbons," which makes one wonder if it is a distant relation to Abudefduf saxatilis, the Sergeant Major. (OK, I admit military icthyological humor is a stretch.)

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