Scientists renew taxonomic revision of Altigena lippa and recover the validity of A. laticeps

Altigena Burton 1934 (Cyprinidae: Labeoninae) is a group of mid-to-large freshwater benthic fish. Kottelat (2017) resurrected this genus from genus Bangana based on the result of the molecular phylogeny of Yang et al. (2012) and redefined the generic diagnoses. The monophyly and validity of Altigena is supported by subsequent study. 

Altigena lippa (Fowler, 1936) was well known as Labeo lippus for decades. It was transferred into genus Bangana in 1998, and later into genus Altigena in 2017. Altigena laticeps (Wu&Lin, 1997) was firstly treated as subspecies of A. tonkinensis (previous named Sinilabeo tonkinensis), Sinilabeo tonkinensis laticeps, then was promoted to species level, as Sinilabeo laticeps (Chu et al.,1989). Subsequent researchers considered this species as a junior synonym of Bangana lippa. This taxonomic opinion was accepted widely for a long time. 

Dr. Patrick J. Ciccotto, Florida Museum of Natural History, USA, collaborates with Dr. Feng Lin and Prof. Xiaoyong Chen from Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, reveal A. laticeps and A. lippa are mainly distinguishable in the number of lateral line scales (40-42 vs. 34-39), predorsal scales (14-16 vs. 9-12), and circumpeduncular scales (20 vs. 16) basing on the morphological study of holotype and topotype.  

In this study, Altigena laticeps is resurrected and re-described. Its distribution is strict to the Upper Mekong River (Lancang River). Altigena lippa is also re-described and mainly distributes in the Lower Mekong River basin in Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The dichotomous key of four species of Altigena (A. yunnanensisA. laticepsA. lippaA. elegans) from the Mekong River basin is presented herein. Moreover, biological information of some species of Altigena is  reported. It promotes our understanding of the taxonomic status of species in the genus Altigena. So far, a total of 13 valid species have been recorded in genus Altigena. 

This study, entitled “Taxonomic revisions of Altigena laticeps and A. lippa (Cyprinidae: Labeoninae) from the Mekong River Basin”, was published in Zootaxa on March 8, 2021. Web link: zootaxa.4941.2.7. Dr. Patrick J. Ciccotto is the corresponding author, and Dr. LIN Feng and Prof. CHEN Xiaoyong are the co-authors in this paper. This study was financially supported by the Biodiversity Investigation, Observation and Assessment Program (2019-2023) of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China, Langcang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Special Fund (Biodiversity Monitoring and Network Construction along Lancang—Mekong River Basin Project) and the Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y4ZK111B01).


Figure 1. Altigena lippa. Photograph by Z. Randall.



Figure 2. Altigena laticeps. Photograph by Feng Lin.


Figure 3. Altigena laticeps. Photograph by Tao Qin.


(By LIN Feng and WANG Zhibang, Editor:YANG Yingrun)




CHEN Xiaoyong





(C) 2015, Kunming Institute of Zoology?
32 Jiaochang Donglu Kunming, Yunnan 650223
Tel: +86 871 65130513 Fax: +86 871 65191823?