Microsynodontis vigilis , Heok Hee Ng, 2004

Heok Hee Ng, 2004, The Microsynodontis (Teleostei: Siluriformes: Mochokidae) of the lower Guinea region, west central Africa, with the description of eight new species., Zootaxa 531, pp. 1-52: 39-43

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Microsynodontis vigilis

sp. nov.

Microsynodontis vigilis  ZBK  sp. nov.

(Fig. 16)

Type material. Holotype: CU 87039, male, 62.0 mm SL; Gabon: Moyen-Ogooué province, 12 km N of Lambaréné, branch of Nzorbang creek near village of same name, 0°34'6.2"S 10°12'46.4"E; C. D. Hopkins et al., 18 July 1999.

Paratypes: CU 80133 (17): 8 females: 30.5-48.0 mm SL; 9 males: 31.5-58.9 mm SL; data as for holotype.

Diagnosis. Microsynodontis vigilis  ZBK  can be distinguished from all congeners in having a longer supracleithral process (reaching to vertical through the posteriormost tip of nuchal shield vs. not reaching). It further differs from all other congeners except for M. armatus  ZBK  and M. lamberti  ZBK  in having a shorter adipose fin (22.0-28.2% SL vs. 27.9-41.6), and except for M. emarginatus  ZBK  , M. lamberti  ZBK  , and M. notatus  ZBK  , in having a larger eye (19.3-25.0% HL vs. 10.6-19.6). Microsynodontis vigilis  ZBK  can be further distinguished from M. lamberti  ZBK  in having a serrated (vs. smooth) anterior edge of the pectoral spine and a round (vs. truncate) caudal fin.

Description. Biometric and meristic data as in Table 9. Body compressed. Predorsal profile gently convex; postdorsal body sloping gently ventrally. Preanal profile horizontal. Anus and urogenital openings located at vertical through middle of pelvic fin. Skin smooth. Lateral line complete and midlateral.

Head depressed and broad, acutely rounded when viewed laterally and with rounded snout margin when viewed from above. Gill openings narrow, extending from immediately ventral to posttemporal to immediately ventral to base of pectoral spine. Gill membranes united to, and attached across, isthmus. Bony elements of dorsal surface of head covered with thin skin. Nuchal shield large and terminating posteriorly with two rounded processes on each side. Supracleithral process thin, extending to vertical through posteriormost tip of nuchal shield.

Barbels in three pairs. Maxillary barbel long and slender, extending to just beyond base of last pectoral-fin ray. Inner mandibular-barbel origin close to midline, extending to base of pectoral spine and with 2 short, thin branches on anterior half and 3-5 long, thin branches on posterior half. Outer mandibular barbel originates posterolateral of inner mandibular barbel, extending to middle of pectoral-fin base and with 3-5 long, thin branches.

Eye large and ovoid, horizontal axis longest; located entirely in dorsal half of head. Orbit without free margin.

Mouth inferior and crescent-shaped; lips plicate. Oral teeth in rows on all tooth-bearing surfaces. Premaxillae narrow, with narrow ventral shelf and partially exposed when mouth closed. Primary teeth 13-14, conical and separated from secondary teeth by distinct gap. Secondary teeth 40-85, acutely pointed and recurved; disposed in 3-4 rows. Tertiary teeth 22-26, elongate, villiform and extending over full width of premaxillae. Dentary teeth 17-27, acutely pointed, strongly recurved and broader than secondary teeth; disposed in one or two transverse bands.

Dorsal fin located at anterior third of body, with II,6 (1) or II,7* (17) rays and convex margin. Dorsal-fin spine long, stout and slightly curved; smooth on both anterior and posterior margins. Adipose fin moderately long; margin slightly convex for entire length and posterior end deeply incised. Caudal fin rounded, with i,6,6,i (18) principal rays. Procurrent rays symmetrical and extend only slightly anterior to fin base. Anal-fin base located ventral to posterior half of adipose fin. Anal fin with iii,7 (2); iii,8* (3); iv,7 (10) or iv,8 (3) rays and convex margin. Pelvic-fin origin at vertical ventral to posterior end of dorsalfin base. Pelvic fin with i,6 (18) rays and slightly convex margin; tip of appressed fin not reaching anal-fin origin. Pectoral fin with I,5 (2); I,6 (14) or I,6,i* (2) rays; spine slightly curved and stout (as in Fig. 4f). Anterior spine margin with 22-28 small serrations along entire length of spine; serrations antrorse (distally directed) on distal two-thirds and anteriorly directed on proximal third. Posterior spine margin with 8-13 strong serrations along entire length. Pectoral-fin margin convex posteriorly. Vertebrae 11+24 (1); 13+23 (7); 13+24* (6); 14+22 (1) or 14+23 (3).

Males with numerous tubercles on sides of head on region extending from snout to preopercle, and long genital papilla situated immediately posterior to anus. Females with fewer tubercles on sides of head, and with smaller, distally flattened genital papilla.

Coloration. In 70% ethanol: dorsal and lateral surfaces and of head and body dark chocolate brown, fading to light brown on belly (Fig. 16). Snout with a series of light yellow spots delineating anterior and posterior nares. Cheek region with one or two light yellow spots immediately ventral to orbit. Light yellow band encircling nape at supraoccipital. Dorsal third of body with series of four light yellow vertical bar-shaped marks extending to lateral midline of body: first at middle of dorsal-fin base, second at adipose-fin origin, third at middle of adipose-fin base and last on caudal peduncle immediately posterior to adipose fin, sometimes encircling caudal peduncle as light yellow band. Ventral third of flanks with a longitudinal series of four to seven light yellow spots or vertical bar-shaped marks. Dorsal fin with dark chocolate brown base and one to two rows of elongate spots forming longitudinal dark chocolate brown rows. Pectoral, pelvic and anal fins with hyaline bases and similarly marked. Caudal fin hyaline, with elongate brown spots forming two to three irregular columns.

Distribution. Known only from the lower Ogooué River drainage in Gabon (Fig. 13).

Habitat. The type locality is a forest stream with a sandy bottom. Water temperature was 24.4°C and the pH was 5.5. Syntopic fish included: Mormyridae  : Brienomyrus  ZBK  sp., Mormyrops zanclirostris  , Stomatorhinus  ZBK  spp.; Characidae  : Alestes  ZBK  sp., Brycinus  ZBK  sp.; Ditichodontidae  : Nannocharax  ZBK  sp.; Cyprinidae  : Barbus  spp.; Amphiliidae  : Amphilius nigricaudatus  ZBK  , Phractura  ZBK  sp.; Claroteidae  : Anaspidoglanis macrostoma  ; Malapteruridae  : Malapterurus beninensis  ZBK  ; Mochokidae  : Synodontis  ZBK  sp.; Cyprinodontidae  : Epiplatys dageti  ZBK  , Plataplochilus chalcopyrus  ZBK  ; Channidae  : Parachanna obscura  ; Cichlidae  : Hemichromis  ZBK  sp.

Etymology. From the Latin vigilis, meaning watchful. In allusion to the relatively large eyes of this species. Used as an adjective.