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Rare fish from Madagascar named after renowned ichthyologist

Rare fish from Madagascar named after renowned ichthyologist

Rare fish from Madagascar named after renowned ichthyologist
WCS release
January 24, 2007

An ichthyologist from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium received the ultimate honor recently, when a freshwater fish discovered on the African island nation of Madagascar was named after him.

Dr. Paul Loiselle, who has dedicated much of his career safeguarding Madagascar’s little- known freshwater fishes, received the honor from a team of biologists from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), after they named a new species of cichlid Ptychochromis loisellei. The announcement was made in a recent edition of American Museum Novitates.

The authors of the paper wrote that the new species was “Named for our colleague Paul Loiselle in recognition of his many contributions to the understanding and conservation of Madagascar’s freshwater fishes.”

Top: Ptychochromis loisellei; bottom: Dr. Loiselle on the Mananra River in Madagascar in 2006. Images courtesy of WCS.

Like so much of Madagascar’s wildlife, all of its freshwater fish species are found nowhere else on earth. The newly described black and gold cichlid is about five inches long, and known locally as a “garaka.” It occurs in several river system in the northeastern part of the country.

Loiselle himself has discovered fifteen freshwater fishes during his fourteen years of field work in Madagascar He is considered one of the world’s experts on cichlids — a family of perch-like fishes comprising nearly 2,000 different species.

Large-scale deforestation and other kinds of human impact have put Madagascar’s unique wildlife at great risk. Despite limited resources, the Malagasy government has made conservation a priority in recent years, announcing plans to set up new protected areas. To educate and inspire the public about its efforts to save this island nation’s amazing wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Society will open a spectacular new Madagascar exhibit in 2009 at the Bronx Zoo, as part of a newly announced $650 million capital campaign called “Gateways to Conservation.”

This is a modified news release from WCS.

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