A new Bagrid catfish species, Rita bakalu (Siluriformes: Bagridae), from the Godavari River basin, India
Rita bakalu, a new species, is described from the Godavari river system in peninsular India. With this finding, the genus Rita is enlarged to include seven species, comprising six species found in South Asia, R. rita, R. macracanthus, R. gogra, R. chrysea, R. kuturnee, R. bakalu, and one species R. sacerdotum from Southeast Asia. R. bakalu is distinguished from its congeners by a combination of the following characters: eye diameter 28–39% HL and 20–22 caudal fin rays; teeth in upper jaw uniformly villiform in two patches, interrupted at the midline; palatal teeth well-developed villiform, in two distinct patches located at the edge of the palate. The mtDNA cytochrome C oxidase I sequence analysis confirmed that the R. bakalu is distinct from the other congeners of Rita. Superficially, R. bakalu resembles R. kuturnee, reported from the Godavari and Krishna river systems; however, the two species are discriminated due to differences in the structure of their teeth patches on upper jaw and palate, anal fin originating before the origin of adipose fin, comparatively larger eye diameter, longer mandibular barbels, and vertebral count. The results conclude that the river Godavari harbors a different species of Rita, R. bakalu which is new to science.
KeywordsRita Godavari river New species Morphology Cytochrome c oxidase I
The authors are thankful to the NAIP-GEF, New Delhi, India, for providing financial assistance under the project (code: 30036), “Harmonizing Biodiversity Conservation and Agricultural Intensification through Integration of Plant, Animal and Fish Genetic resources for Livelihood Security in Fragile Ecosystem.” The support received from Commissioner, Department of Fisheries, Andhra Pradesh (now known as Telangana) and officials at District Adilabad, Mr. Shri Hari and Mr. Rana Pratap is gratefully acknowledged. Authors acknowledge the technical help of Sh. R. S. Sah, Sh. Rajesh Kumar, and Sh. Sree Ram during this work. The authors also express their gratitude to Patrice Pruvost, Gabsi Zora, and L. Randrihasipara of Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France, for their efforts to provide images of the holotype specimen.
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