_NATURE ENVIRONMENT ichthyology

_Tiny Catfish

An elusive eyeless catfish measuring less than an inch has finally been given a name by researchers from the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University.

_John Lundberg

Lundberg is an emeritus professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and emeritus curator of the Academy.

_Tiago Carvahlo

Tiago Carvalho is an Academy researcher.

It took nearly four decades, but an elusive eyeless catfish measuring less than an inch has finally been given a name and a detailed description by researchers from the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University.

_small fry

One of two Micromyzon orinoco specimen caught in the Orinoco River were finally placed in the taxonomy nearly 40 years after being found. The species pair provide an example of the evolutionary and biotic link between fishes in the Orinoco.

Two specimens of the catfish, now named Micromyzon orinoco, were caught in the Orinoco River near Ciudad Guyana in Venezuela in an expedition from 1978–79. But taxonomy isn’t so simple as picking out a name, says John Lundberg, emeritus professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and emeritus curator of the Academy, who was the chief scientist on the expedition.

“We knew what these fish were upon capture,” Lundberg says. “But the devil is in the details.”

Careful examination and comparison of existing species must be done to properly identify a new animal species, and that can take some time. Lundberg and Tiago Carvalho, an Academy researcher who is also a faculty member at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, were able to co-author the description of the species with ichthyological collaborators based in California, Alabama and Brazil.