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Comprehensive Description

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Pseudoplatystoma metaense n. sp.

(Figure 23, Table 6)

Geographic distribution: Orinoco River, Colombia and Venezuela (Fig. 22).

Holotype : ANSP 146858 , 528 mm SL. Metica River, ca 1.5 km E of Rajote (Plancha 267) , 3°56'N , 73°3'W , Meta River , department of Meta , Colombia , W. G. Saul et al. , 16 March 1973 .

Paratypes : ANSP 149541 , (2), Orinoco River inlet below Barrancas, 141 nautic miles, upstream from sea buoy , Venezuela8º43'N , 62º08'W , R. V. Eastward , 17 February 1978 . ANSP 128135 , (1), hacienda Mozambique; lake Mozambique, W side near end , 3º58'N , 73º04' W , Meta River, Orinoco River , department of Meta , Colombia , J.E. Bohlke et al. , 29 March 1971 .

FIGURE 23. Pseudoplatystoma metaense , n. sp. , holotype, ANSP 146858, 527.9 mm SL. Scale 10 cm.

Material examined: AMNH 96661 , (2), between Puerto Ordaz and Barrancas at los Castillos de Guyana, isla Japatupa in an isolated laguna , 8º31'36"N , 62º26'42"W , Orinoco River , Venezuela , C. Eastward et al. , 10 November 1976 . ANSP 146858 , (1), Metica River, ca 1.5 km. E of Rajote (Plancha 267) , 3º56'N , 73º3'W , Meta River, Orinoco River , department of Meta , Colombia , W. Saul and W. Smith -Vaniz , 16 March 1973 . ANSP 149541 , (2 ds), Orinoco River inlet below Barrancas, 141 nautic miles, upstream from sea buoy , Venezuela8º43'N , 62º08'W , R. V. Eastward , 17 February 1978 . ANSP 166447 , (1), Cabruta; laguna Larga II, Orinoco River , estado de Guarico , Venezuela , M. Rodriguez and A. Martinez , 11 January 1988 . CAS 162518 , (1), whereabouts in the Orinoco River , Venezuela . CAS 164380 , (2), whereabouts in the Orinoco River , Venezuela . CAS 211347 , (2), cano tributary of Orinoco River, nautic miles 92 , estado Delta Amacuro , Venezuela . CAS 64945 , (1), south of Bruzual, Prestamo on east side of highway, Orinoco River , estado de Apure , Venezuela , D. Taphorn et al. , 18 February 1981 . INHS 35798 , (1), laguna cano Largo , 8º14'50"N , 63º15'55"W , Orinoco River , estado de Bolivar , Venezuela , M. Rodriguez , 27 May 1987 . INHS 35880 & 35881 , (2), SE, El Carote, near mouth of Caujauito River , 7º41'N , 66º21W , Orinoco River , estado de Guarico , Venezuela , D. Taphorn et al. , 12 January 1995 . MCNG 38744 , (1), Cojedes River, Orinoco River , estado de Cojedes , Venezuela , N. Hurtado , February 1994 . MCNG 31287 , (1 ds), laguna Tineo , 8º11'25"N , 63º28'20"W , Orinoco River , distrito Independencia, estado Anzoategui , Venezuela , M. Rodriguez , 28 March 1988 . UF 80652 , (1), Guasimito River, tributary Guanare River , 8º20'55"N , 68º2'20"W , Orinoco River , estado de Barinas , Venezuela , D. Taphorn et al. , 6 April 1984 . UMMZ 211348 , (2), delta Amacuro, inlet of cano Araguaito on north side of Orinoco River , estado delta Amacuro , Venezuela , E. Marsh et al. , 14 November 1979 . USNM 258155 , (1 ds), Apure River, side channel of the Riverca, 5 km W of San Fernando de Apure , 7º53'N , 67º29W , Orinoco River , estado de Apure , Venezuela , technicians at Apure fisheries , 21 January 1983 . USNM 258157 , (2), side channel along dike opposite municipal slaughter house , 7º35'N , 67º29'W , Apure River, tributary of Orinoco River , estado de Apure , Venezuela , technicians at Apure fisheries , 25 January 1983 . USNM 233935 , (1), canoLimon on north side of the river, opposite los Castillos, between Pt. Ordaz and Barrancas, 162.1 nautic miles from sea buoy , 8º31'48"N , 62º25'24"W , Orinoco River , Venezuela , Marsh et al. , 10 November 1979 .

Diagnosis: A species of Pseudoplatystoma ZBK distinguished by a combination of the following features: dark spots randomly distributed over dusky region on body (this pattern has been regarded mistakenly as the spotted condition of P. corruscans , and consequently, these two species often have been confused); side of body with few (no more than 5) straight dark vertical bars; fewer (2 or 3) loop-like bars than in P. tigrinum ZBK ; adipose fin with fewer spots than in P. tigrinum ZBK (8-10, in P. tigrinum ZBK , 5-7 in P. metaense ); surrounding areas over dorsal procurrent caudal rays also with fewer spots than in P. tigrinum ZBK ; (8-10 in P. tigrinum ZBK , 5-8 in P. metaense ); 35 vertebrae; pectoral and pelvic fins pale with no dusky pigmentation.

Description: Maximum recorded length 528 mm TL. P. metaense has a narrow head and flat snout, somewhat expanded anteriorly. Viewed laterally, widest measurement at dorsal fin origin. Body tapers in depth gradually toward the tail. Dark pigmentation on dorsum and lateral sides from head to tail. Spots and vertical lines over the dusky region, sometimes a few spots on lateroventral white region. Rays of dorsal fin with few spots, spine pale with no spots. Pelvic fins pale and lacking spots, anal fin pale with few spots. Caudal fin with many spots (compare Figs. 14 and 15). No loop-like or spots on dorsal region of head. A long groove or fontanel extends from middle length of mesethmoid to middle length of supraoccipital. Posterior process of supraoccipital with a conspicuous crest. Surface of the head rough posteriorly with a transverse groove. Surface of snout with reticulating/dendritic prolongations of the lateral line system as well as on cheeks, all over surface and posteriorly to the opercle. Maxillary barbels short, not reaching beyond opercle flap. Short posterior mental barbels extend beyond pectoral girdle.

Etymology: The specific epithet metaense refers to the type locality, Meta River, a tributary of the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela.

TABLE 6. Descriptive measurements of the body size and shape (in mm), and number of vertebrae for P. metaense . Number of individuals measured, 26.

Variables Holotype mean+SD range
Standard length 518.2 349+104.1 226.1-559
Snout-posterior occipital process 198.9 135.3+38.8 62.6-203.1
Snout-posterior margin of the opercle 191.6 132.1+36.3 88-196.6
Dorsal fin spine length 67 47.5+14.2 25-74.3
Pectoral fin spine length 84.1 56.2+16.5 33-87.4
Maxillary barbel length 164.2 126.1+22.7 84.8-167.7
Anterior chin barbel length 155.4 130.7+28.3 74-189.2
Insertion maxillary barbel-eye 76.9 52.8+14.2 35.1-80.6
Insertion maxillary barbel-joint pectoral spine 151.2 106.5+28.7 70.1-157.6
Insertion maxillary barbel-joint dorsal spine 219.7 148.7+40.6 105-223.8
Eye-joint pectoral spine 82.1 58.7+16.6 36.9-89.6
Eye-joint dorsal spine 130.4 94.7+25.3 65-142.8
Joint pectoral spine-joint dorsal spine 92.8 62.8+18 40.6-95.5
Joint pectoral spine-joint first pelvic ray 123.9 82.5+27 52.8-135.7
Joint pectoral spine-joint last ray of dorsal fin 100.8 86+26.1 55.4-135.4
Joint dorsal spine-joint first pelvic ray 76 65.7+21.5 38.1-106.7
Dorsal fin base length 40.1 34.4+10.9 22.2-55.6
Joint first pelvic ray-joint last dorsal fin ray 55.9 47.1+15.7 25.3-73.5
Joint first pelvic ray-anal fin origin 95.4 80.4+26.5 51.2-134.6
Joint first pelvic ray-origin adipose fin 100.4 85.1+27.7 55.3-148.1

...continued

TABLE 6. (continued)

Variables Neotype mean+SD range
Last dorsal fin ray-anal fin origin 109.4 95.7+31.6 58.6-154.3
Last dorsal fin ray-adipose fin origin 93 78.6+26.9 49-130.9
Anal fin origin-adipose fin origin 48.3 44.1+14.5 27.3-73.1
Anal fin base length 42.6 35.5+11.1 19.7-54.9
Anal fin origin-adipose fin terminus 51.7 44.6+14.4 25.4-75.8
Adipose fin origin-anal fin terminus 54.9 49.9+14.8 25.4-75.8
Adipose fin length 37 32.9+9.7 28.1-77.7
Anal fin terminus-adipose fin terminus 28.3 25.7+8.3 18.5-51.7
Anal fin terminus-ventral caudal fin origin 15.3 17+7.6 14.2-43.3
Anal fin terminus-dorsal caudal fin origin 31 28.4+9.3 8.9-32.6
Adipose fin terminus-ventral caudal fin origin 36.5 33.0+9.9 19.3-53.2
Adipose fin terminus-dorsal caudal fin origin 23.3 19.4+6.2 10.5-29.4
Caudal peduncle depth 28.7 24.8+7.7 15.1-39.7
Number of vertebrae 35 35±0 35

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