Systomus navjotsodhii Tan 2012
- The genus name Puntigrus is a combination of two words: ‘Puntius’, which is a genus of small freshwater fish, and ‘tigrus’, a word invented to resemble the Latin word ‘tigris’, meaning ‘tiger’. This name was chosen due to the distinctive barred coloration pattern that resembles the coat of a tiger and the common name ‘tiger barb’ used to refer to some species in this group of fish.
- The specific epithet ‘navjotsodhii’ is derived from the name of Professor Navjot S. Sodhi (1962-2011), a well-respected conservationist and ecological researcher who made significant contributions to the study of Southeast Asian wildlife. The species was named in his honor to acknowledge his tireless efforts to promote biodiversity conservation and his significant contributions as the editor of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. This species will serve as a reminder of Professor Sodhi’s legacy and his invaluable contributions to the scientific community.
- Order: Cypriniformes
- Family: Cyprinidae
This particular species of fish is currently restricted to the upper Katingan and Barito river basins located in the province of Kalimantan Tangah (Central Kalimantan) in Indonesian Borneo. It has not been observed in any other geographic region or water body.
The exact location where the type specimen of this species was discovered is known as the Mendawai sub-basin, which is situated within the Katingan basin. This area is located at an altitude of approximately 200 meters above sea level and is characterized by a hilly landscape. The specific site where the specimen was collected is a hill stream that forms part of the buffer zone of the Bukit Raya–Bukit Baka National Park. This location is marked by coordinates 00°44.91’S and 112°15.85’E and is located in the heart of the fish’s natural habitat.
The collection of the type series of this fish species was carried out in a small, clear-water stream that featured a series of riffles and deeper pools. The stream had a maximum width of 5 meters and a depth range spanning from 10 centimeters to 1 meter. The pH of the water in this stream was recorded as 6.0. The substrate of the streambed was composed of sand, gravel, rocks, and some leaf litter, and the water’s edge was marked by overhanging marginal vegetation.
During the collection of the type series, the stream was found to be inhabited by several other fish species, which were observed living in the same habitat as the newly identified species. These included members of the genera Barbonymus, Barbodes, Crossocheilus, Garra, Hampala, Mystacoleucus, Rasbora, Gastromyzon, Pangio, Leiocassis, Hemibagrus, Glyptothorax, Channa, and Mastacembelus.
Maximum Standard Length
At least 48 mm.
Currently, this fish species is not known to be kept in the aquarium hobby. The trade for similar-looking fish, commonly referred to as ‘tiger barbs’, often relies on commercially produced species with questionable origins. This newly identified species can be distinguished from other members of its genus by its unique combination of features, which include four broad, black bars up to five scales wide, a deep body, a complete lateral line with 20-21 pored scales in the lateral series, and the absence of rostral barbels.
The genus Puntigrus was established by Kottelat (2013) to accommodate a group of fish species formerly referred to as the ‘Puntius tetrazona group’, which includes P. tetrazona, P. navjotsodhii, P. pulcher, and P. partipentazona. While P. tetrazona, P. navjotsodhii, and P. pulcher are native to western, central, and eastern Borneo, respectively, P. partipentazona is found in Indochina. These fish share a unique color pattern that consists of four black bars on a pale body, with black pigmentation on at least the basal half of the dorsal fin.
Other features that aid in identifying this group of fish include a rhomboid-shaped, deep body, a complete or incomplete lateral line, a serrated posterior edge on the last simple dorsal-fin ray, and the absence of rostral barbels. The genus Puntius was previously considered a polyphyletic group that included over 100 species, but this has been largely resolved in recent years. Overall, the identification of this new species and the clarification of its taxonomy will contribute to a better understanding of the diversity and evolution of freshwater fish in this region.
- Tan, H. H., 2012 – Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 25: 285-289
Systomus navjotsodhii, a new cyprinid fish from central Kalimantan, Borneo.
- Kottelat, M., 2013 – Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663
The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries.