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[[ Polypterus ZBK ]]

Taxonomic research on recent Polypteridae in the last few decades has been limited to a revision of the Polypterus palmas ZBK subspecies-complex (Gosse, 1988; Hanssens et al., 1995) and the very recent description of Polypterus teugelsi ZBK from the upper Cross River drainage in Cameroon by Britz (2004). The last author concluded that “The discovery of the unusual P. teugelsi ZBK exemplifies our incomplete taxonomic knowledge of polypterids, and highlights the need for a thorough systematic revision of the genus, which will, I believe, yield additional undescribed species in this interesting group of fishes”. This conclusion is supported by the diversity of Polypterus ZBK phenotypes encountered in commercial aquarium imports ( Schäfer , 2004). Inspection of hundreds of Polypterus ZBK specimens imported through Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) has resulted in recognition of a presumably undescribed species of this genus that has become known as Polypterus sp. “Congo” in the aquarium trade ( Schäfer , 2004). However, during preparation of this manuscript, examination of the three type specimens of Polypterus retropinnis Vaillant, 1899 ZBK revealed that one of these, listed in Bertin's (1940: 247) type catalogue as the “holotype” of P. retropinnis ZBK (MNHN 1886-295), actually is conspecific with Polypterus sp. “Congo” . The two remaining types (MNHN 1886-297 and BMNH 1907.12.3.4) represent a different species, which is described in the present paper. Inasmuch as the type series of Polypterus retropinnis Vaillant, 1899 ZBK includes two species, a lectotype is designated for P. retropinnis ZBK and a rediagnosis of that species is provided.


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