WWF: New species on the block
Oreoglanis hponkanensis，a new species of catfish was located on a mountain in Myanmar.(Chinese Academy of Sciences, China)
Discoverers: Xiao-Yong Chen, Tao Qin, Zhi-Ying Chen
The discovery process of Oreoglanis hponkanensis was not an easy one. The habitat of Oreoglanis hponkanensis is located on a mountain in a very remote location, as the species prefers swift cold water. Dr. Xiao-Yong Chen (Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) was a part of a team that discovered two new Oreoglanis species in 2007; he says “[but] this discovery [of O. hponkanensis] expanded our understanding of this genus” even further.
Although O. hponkanensis is abundant at high altitudes within the Hponkanrazi wildlife sanctuary, it appears to be more rare than its relatives. Dr. Xiao-Yong Chen noted that “if Hponkanrazi keeps its status as a wildlife sanctuary right now, I don’t worry too much about [this species].” However, there is not much known about O. hponkanensis’ ecology and it is likely to be highly specialized to fast flowing rivers, making it vulnerable to environmental change in the future.