NSCI identifies four new species of snakehead murrels in Myanmar

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Photo shows Myanmar's native dwarf snakeheaded murrel called Channa pyrophthalmus.

The Native Species Conservation and Identification in Myanmar (NSCI) has identified four new species of dwarf snakehead murrels native to Kachin State, Rakhine State, and Taninthayi Region.
Researchers have classified 56 varieties of snakehead murrels, with 53 being native to Asia and three to Africa. Myanmar hosts 20 species, and over ten are endemic only to Myanmar.
Snakehead murrels are highly sought after both as delicacies and pets. Traditionally, they were recognized primarily by their common names until researchers initiated efforts to classify them systematically.
Ko Min Htet Kyaw explained: “Channa sp fire and ice, native to the Taninthayi Region, is a prized species in the pet fish market. It’s now scientifically identified as Channa pyrophthalmus. Similarly, another popular pet fish, Channa sp redfin, hailing from Kachin State, is formally known as Channa rubora.”
Another species native to Kachin, Channa sp ignis, corresponds to Channa coccinea, while a species from Rakhine, Channa sp mimetic pulchra, is scientifically classified as Channa rakhinica.
Researchers Ko Min Htet Kyaw and Ko Shin Paing Oo studied the fish samples, habitats and life cycles in collaboration with many local and international scientists. They identified four new species within the Channa gachua species complex and documented these new species.
NSCI is a team of local and foreign researchers working to conserve biodiversity, share knowledge, and debunk popular myths concerning flora and fauna through in-depth articles. — ASH/NT

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