Four new species of Triplophysa were found in China

Triplophysa is an ecologically important and taxonomically challenging genus distributed in lakes, rivers, and streams of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and adjacent regions. Species of Triplophysa are distributed westward to the Aral Sea basin and across interior drainages of Baluchistan and northwestward to Western Mongolia and adjoining Russia. Recently, scientists found four new member of Triplophysa family in China.

The southwestern part of China is famous for Karst landform. In addition to the beauty of the Karst landscape, there is also a rich and exotic cave fish resource. Some of them are transparent, and their eyes degenerated and even disappeared. Their tentacles stretch out into the distance, looking like elves in water, which makes them very mysteriously cool but lovely. In the narrow distribution zone of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou, not only the common surface species, but also the typical cave species (no eyes, albinism, etc.) can be seen, and there are many intermediate types between them. This diversity makes them the ideal materials for the study of animal geography evolution, ecological adaptation.

In China, in addition to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and Inner Mongolia, Triplophysa species occur in the provinces Beijing, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou, and Guangxi. The Pearl River system is China’s third-longest river after the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, and the second largest by volume after the Yangtze. The Pearl River basin drains the majority of Liangguang (Guangdong and Guangxi provinces), as well as parts of Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi provinces in China.

In 2017 and 2018, four loach species were collected from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous and Guizhou Provinces. These specimens represent four new species of Triplophysa, named T. anshuiensis, T. luochengensis, T. tianlinensis and T. guizhouensis. Until now, the genus of Triplophysa currently contains 141 species worldwide, of which 117 species are from China. These specimens provide materials to know the fish evolution from ground to cave in karst region.

This work was published in Journal of Fish Biology, Zookeys and Ichthyological Research. Prof. YANG Junxing, Prof. CHEN Xiaoyong, and DU Lina are co-autors. This work was supported by grants from Special Funds for Young Scholars of Taxonomy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ZSBR-011).


Triplophysa anshuiensis (Photo by DU Lina) 

Linving Condition of Triplophysa anshuiensis (Photo by Lan Jiahu) 

Triplophysa tianlinensis (Photo by Lan Jiahu)


Triplophysa luochengensis (Photo by Lan Jiahu) 

Triplophysa guizhouensis (Photo by Lan Jiahu)


By Du Lina, Editor: HE Linxi

Contact: HE Linxi



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