A new species of ghost knifefish has been described by ichthyologists James Albert and William Crampton. It has been given the name Compsaraia samueli in honour of Samuel Albert who presented the scientists with the type specimens.

Ghost knifefish (family Apteronotidae) are famous for their body shape and for using a high frequency tone-type electric organ discharge (EOD) to communicate. The native home of these fishes are South and Central America. Within the aquarium hobby, the Black ghost knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons) and Brown ghost knifefish (Apteronotus leptorhynchus) are fairly common.

Samuel’s ghost knifefish lives in the western Amazon of Peru and Brazil and was collected from flooded beaches and deep river channels. It can be distinguished from its close relatives by having a higher number of caudal-fin rays and a less tapering body shape in lateral profile.

Other distinctive features are the relatively short caudal peduncle and the comparatively small body size (as an adult). The mature male sports an extremely slender and elongated snout and engages in sparring with repeated aggressive non-contact postures, usually followed by jaw-locking and biting.

If you wish to learn more about Samuel’s ghost knifefish, see the paper: Albert, JS and WGR Crampton (2009) A new species of electric knifefish, genus Compsaraia (Gymnotiformes: Apteronotidae) from the Amazon River, with extreme sexual dimorphism in snout and jaw length. Systematics and Biodiversity[1] 7, pp. 81–92.

Kingdom:

Animalia

Phylum:

Chordata

Class:

Actinopterygii

Order:

Gymnotiformes

Suborder:

Sternopygoidei

Superfamily:

Apteronotoidea

Family:

Apteronotidae

Genus: Compsaraia

New species: Compsaraia samueli


[1] Systematics and Biodiversity” is an international life science journal devoted to whole-organism biology, especially systematics and biodiversity. It is published by The Natural History Museum, UK. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/publishing/det_sysbio.html