• The new catfish species Oreoglanis hponkanensis discovered in Myanmar.

The new catfish species Oreoglanis hponkanensis discovered in Myanmar. (Photo : Xiao-Yong Chen)

Chinese scientists identified a new catfish species among collected specimens during a survey of the freshwater fishes of the Mali Hka River drainage in the Hponkanrazi Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar.

The new catfish, scientifically named Oreoglanis hponkanensis, has a moderately broad and strongly depressed head and body, and small eyes.

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The species is predominantly brown in color. It has a light yellow belly and several yellowish patches across the body. Noticeable are also two round, bright orange patches in the middle of the fin.

The species discovered by scientists Xiao-Yong Chen, Tao Qin and Zhi-Ying Chen from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is distinct with a set of morphological features, including its mouthparts and coloration. The discovery was published in the open access journal, ZooKeys.

The new catfish belongs to a genus (Oreoglanis) consisting of 22 currently recognized species. Species in this genus are characterized by unusual teeth.

While pointed in the upper and the back of the lower jaw, the teeth at the front of the lower jaw are shorter and broad. The latter are placed in a continuous dent.

Out of the 22 species of the genus, there are only two known to live in Myanmar.

Oreoglanis is a genus of fish in the family Sisoridae native to Asia. These fish live in fast-flowing streams in China, mainland Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

They are easily distinguished from other catfishes by their strongly depressed head and body and greatly enlarged paired fins that have been modified to form an adhesive apparatus. The flattened shape of these fish and the large pectoral and pelvic fins provide essential adhesion in the fast-flowing waters they live in.

Oreoglanis are mainly distributed in the Mekong, upper Salween and Irrawaddy River.