In 2006 and 2010, Congolese researcher Raoul Monsembula collected catfish and other species from the rivers in Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Then he hopped on a plane to New York City so colleagues could analyze them in their lab. More than 10 years later, Monsembula learned that he’d actually collected a species of air-breathing catfish that scientists hadn’t known about. Not only that, but his colleagues had named it after him: Clarias monsembulai. Experts say this is the first newly reported species of catfish in the Clarias genus since 1980. “It was just a good moment,” Monsembula, a biology professor at the University of Kinshasa and the Greenpeace regional coordinator in Central Africa, told Mongabay in an email. “Any biologist would love to have his name dedicated to the species on which he is working. So, it was a good surprise of my life.” Greenpeace campaigner Raoul Monsembula shows peat in the peatland forest around Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Image ©️ Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace Africa Melanie Stiassny, an ichthyologist at the American Museum of Natural History, said she and her colleagues initially thought the catfish was another species, Clarias buthupogon, to which it bears a striking resemblance. However, she said that Maxwell Bernt, who previously worked with Stiassny as a postdoctoral researcher, noticed that the fish in question had some distinct traits. “[Bernt] was doing a big study of these Clarias catfishes all over Africa,” Stiassny told Mongabay in an interview.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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