Brachyhypopomus bullockii Another electric knifefish described from northern South America Brachypopomus gauderio is not the only electric knifefish recently described from South America, U.S. researchers John P. Sullivan* and Carl D. Hopkins** have described another member of the genus Brachyhypopomus and given it the name Brachyhypopomus bullocki.

This new species is named in honour of Theodore Holmes Bullock, a renowned neurobiologist who died in 2005. Bullock was a pioneer of the comparative neurobiology of both invertebrates and vertebrates and is credited with the first physiological recordings from an electroreceptor and for championing electric fishes as a model system in neurobiology. The electric organ discharge waveform of Brachyhypopomus bullocki is biphasic, 0.9–1.6 milliseconds in duration, and the pulse rate varies from 20–80 Hz.

Brachyhypopomus bullocki is found throughout the Orinoco Basin in Venezuela and
Colombia. It can also be encountered in the in the Rio Branco drainage of Guyana and the Roraima State of Brazil, as well as in the upper part of Rio Negro near the mouth of Rio Branco.

Brachyhypopomus bullocki appears to prefer clear, shallow, standing water in open savannah, or savannah mixed with stands of Mauritia palm. It has also been collected among plants growing along the banks of small pools fed by streams. In Rio Negro, a specimen was found amongst palm leaf litter near the outlet of a black water stream.

Brachyhypopomus bullocki distinguishes itself from its close relatives by having larger eyes (comparative to the head), a short abdomen, and distally enlarged poorly ossified third and fourth branchiostegal rays.

The paper can be downloaded from Cornell University.

* John P. Sullivan, Department of Ichthyology, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. Email:

** Carl D. Hopkins, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, New York. Email: