While fishing in a Brazilian river, researchers recently caught a peculiar kind of catfish.
The slender bottom feeders — which appeared translucent and iridescent — belonged to a previously unidentified species and genus, according to a study published in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology.
It is the first description “in almost 80 years of an undoubtedly new tridentine genus,” a subfamily of Trichomycteridae catfish, from the region, researchers said.
The fish were caught at night in the Ipixuna River, a roughly 20-foot-wide, mud-bottomed tributary of the Amazon, researchers said.
Genetic testing confirmed that they represented an unknown genus, which was named Rhinotridens. The individual species was named chromocaudatus after the Latin words chroma and cauda, which means color and tail, respectively — a reference to a “conspicuous” dark brown stripe on its tail.
In addition to the striped tail, the new species is distinguished by the presence of a “unique” protuberance on its snout, researchers said.
So far, the fish is only known to dwell in the Ipixuna River as well as two other tributary rivers in the Amazon basin.
“No significant threats to the species have been identified in the area of occurrence,” researchers said, adding that it “can be provisionally classified as Least Concern (LC) according to the categories and criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”
Catfish live on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, and more than 2,700 species have been identified worldwide, according to research from the University of Florida.
“They are among the most diverse and common fishes, comprising one in four freshwater species,” researchers said.