A new species of killifish native to Brazil has been formally described and given a scientific name. The fish, from now on known as Rivulus albae, belongs to the subgenus Melanorivulus and was found in soft and acidic water in northeastern Brazil.

rivulus albae New species of Brazilian killifish described by science

Rivulus albae. Photo By Javier Rabanal

The fish is named after Alba Garcia, the daughter of José Ramón García, one of the authors of the paper in which the species is described.


Rivulus albae distinguishes itself from the other members of the subgenus Melanorivulus by having brown oblique bars on the entire flank which on the dorsal portion of the flank often form chevron-like marks with a posterior vertex (vs. chevron-like pattern with vertex pointing anteriorly when present).

Rivulus albae looks quite similar to Rivulus decoratus, but has 6 branchiostegal rays instead of 5, 13 anal fin rays instead of 10 or 11, and 24-26 scales on lateral series instead of 25-28.

Distribution and habitat

All the other recognized species of the subgenus Melanorivulus live in rivers south of the main channel of the Amazon River, but Rivulus albae was collected north of the Amazon River, in the state of Amapá. So far, the species is only known from a handful of localities belonging to Comprido Lake and Tartaruga Grande River.

Rivulus albae was collected in an environment where the savannah meets the forest, close to the banks of large water bodies with clear water at an altitude up to roughly 50 meters above sea level. This fish lives in lakes and lagoons where the underwater vegetation is dense and the water soft and acidic (pH 6.0-6.5).


  • STEFANO VALDESALICI, ITALYvaldesalici.stefano(at)gmail.com

The paper was published in Vertebrate Zoology on June 22, 2011.