Journal Article

Three new species of Homatula (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae) from Yunnan, China, with comments on habitat conservation

Li, X., Yang, B., Guo, Y. and Zhou, W.

Record Number:
17(11): e0276846
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Based on the morphological comparisons and molecular results, three new species of Homatula, i.e., H. geminusclathratus sp. nov., H. microcephala sp. nov., and H. longibarbatus sp. nov., have been described and named from the Lancang-jiang (the upper Mekong River) and the Chuan-he (the upper Black River, a tributary of the Red River) basins. The loaches of Homatula from the Lancang-jiang and the Chuan-he can be distinguished via morphology, genetics, and geographic distribution. All of the 10 recorded species distributed in the Nu-jiang (the upper Salween River), the Lancang-jiang, and the upper Black River share the following combination of character states: whole body, except head, densely scaled; lateral line complete; and a short adipose crest along the dorsal midline of the caudal peduncle, anteriorly not reaching vertically through the anal-fin origin. Species with these characters are called the densely-scaled group of Homatula. The three newly described species belong to the densely-scaled group of Homatula. Based on molecular phylogenetics, these Homatula species form a monophyletic group that can be divided into two clades, the densely-scaled group and the non-densely-scaled group. The densely-scaled group of Homatula includes 13 species occurring between the Nu-jiang and the upper Black River. The non-densely-scaled group is non-monophyletic and includes 14 species that are distributed in the Red, Pearl, Yangtze, and Yellow River basins. Species of the non-denselyscaled group are clustered into four sub-clades that are constrained to the four river basins. Homatula exclusively inhabits mountain streams with rapid or gentle currents, vauclusian springs, underground rivers connected to streams, and ditches near villages and farmland. No specimens of Homatula were collected from the main streams of Lixian-jiang, Lancangjiang, and Nu-jiang as well as their large tributaries. Small environmental changes in the habitat of Homatula, such as water pollution or extensive human use, can lead to species/ population extinction. Effective conservation of rare and endemic fishes, like loaches of Homatula, entails systematic observations and more targeted protection
Times Cited:
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Three new species of Homatula (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae) from Yunnan, China, with comments on habitat conservation