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Rediscovery of Endemic Brown Blind Swamp-eel, Monopterus desilvai Bailey & Gans, 1998; family: Symbranchidae, after twenty years from Sri Lanka.

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature, Sri Lanka Country office.
... Though initially reported from Marawila (a region which drains to the Maha River basin) by Bailey & Gans (1998), all the recent records of M. desilvai have been from the Bolgoda Lake (in fact an estuary) south of Colombo (Goonatilake, 2000;De Silva et al., 2015;present study). While most of the ichthyological fieldwork had been concentrated on the rainforests in the wet zone of Sri Lanka, in which new species are continuously discovered (e. g. ...
The endemic Sri Lankan synbranchid 'Monopterus' desilvai is redescribed based on additional material. In life, individuals have a maroon background colour with numerous dark brown blotches. They breathe air, which is stored in paired suprabranchial pouches. The head skeleton of M. desilvai is described in detail. This species shares with M. cuchia, M. indicus, M. fossorius, M. ichthyophoides, M. rongsaw, M. luticolus, and M. boueti derived and unique modifications of the gill arch skeleton: ceratobranchial 1 is spatially removed from hypobranchial 1 and aligned with hypo-and ceratobranchial 2, leading to a separation of the anterior from the posterior gill arch skeleton. It shares with M. cuchia, M. indicus, M. fossorius, and M. ichthyophoides an even further derived gill arch skeleton, in which epibranchial 1, the interarcual bone and pharyngobranchial 2 are absent, modifications puta-tively related to the evolution of paired suprabranchial pouches in these species. Based on these shared derived characters the group comprising M. cuchia, M. indicus, M. fossorius, M. ichthyophoides and M. desilvai, is recognized as a monophyletic unit for which the oldest available generic name is Ophichthys Swainson.
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