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Neotropical Ichthyology

Print version ISSN 1679-6225On-line version ISSN 1982-0224

Neotrop. ichthyol. vol.2 no.2 Porto Alegre Apr./June 2004 



Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner, 1962, an available name and a senior synonym of Cyanocharax macropinna Malabarba & Weitzman, 2003 (Ostariophysi: Characidae)



Luiz R. MalabarbaI; Stanley H. WeitzmanII; Thomas LitzIII

ILaboratório de Ictiologia, Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, PUCRS, Av. Ipiranga 6681, 90619-900 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, and Departamento de Zoologia, IB, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Bento Gonçalves, 9500, bloco IV, Prédio 43435, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. e- mail:
IIDivision of Fishes, Department of Zoology, MRC-159, National Museum of Natural History, PO BOX 37012, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 20013-7012, U.S.A
IIIKrumpfhalde 47, 88448 Attenweiler, Germany




Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis, Astyanacinus platensis, and Astyanax stenohalinus, published in a mimeographed paper by Messner in 1962 are considered available names. The subspecific name H. melanopleurus uruguayensis is recognized as a senior synonym of Cyanocharax macropinna Malabarba & Weitzman, 2003, and therefore referred to as Cyanocharax uruguayensis (Messner, 1962), new combination.

Key words: Astyanacinus platensis, Astyanax stenohalinus, Cyanocharax uruguayensis.


Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis, Astyanacinus platensis e Astyanax stenohalinus, publicados em um trabalho mimeografado por Emil Messner em 1962 são considerados como nomes disponíveis. O nome sub-específico H. melanopleurus uruguayensis é reconhecido como sinônimo sênior de Cyanocharax macropinna Malabarba & Weitzman, 2003, e referida como Cyanocharax uruguayensis (Messner, 1962), nova combinação.



During August 2003, Malabarba & Weitzman published the description of a new genus, Cyanocharax, with six new species of characid fishes from Southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. In September 2003, Thomas Litz and Stanley Weitzman have met at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., and was given a reprint of Malabarba & Weitzman (2003). In quickly leafing through it, Thomas saw the picture of a male of Cyanocharax macropinna, the type species of the genus, and instantly recognized it as a fish species referred among Uruguayan aquarists as a subspecies of Hyphessobrycon, first named Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis by Messner (1962).

Emil Messner provided a short diagnosis of his new subspecies, a diagnosis of two new characid species, Astyanacinus platensis and Astyanax stenohalinus, and a list of 15 other characid tetragonopterine species, all from Uruguay. The two new species and the new subspecies proposed by Messner so far have never been referred to in the Zoological Record, and were never mentioned in the current ichthyological literature as the comprehensive catalogs of species of fishes edited by Eschmeyer (1998) and by Reis et al. (2003). Nevertheless, they were cited in the Uruguayan literature (Vaz-Ferreira, 1969; Reichert-Lang, 2002; and Nion et al. 2002), as well as included in the type material of Messner species listed by Olazarri et al. (1970:3) as housed in the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Montevideo, Uruguay.

The reasons for the omission of Messner's species in most scientific literature seem to be related to the limited distribution of the journal in which Messner's paper was published, the Boletin de la Associacíon Latino Americana de Ictíologos y Herpetologos, (BALAIH), a mimeographed publication, published in Buenos Aires. Messner's paper was published in volume 2, number 1. We were unable to find references to this volume of this journal in any library, as well as through international document suppliers. We found only one reference in the Herpetological Library of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, a "homonym" journal, the Boletin de la Asociación Latino-Amerícana de Ictiologos y Herpetologos, published in Argentina in 1961, that may constitute the first volume of the series. However, we have not been able to locate a copy of this volume or further volumes. So far, all copies of this journal available for use to us were obtained from personal libraries, through Uruguayan aquarists, or, in one case, from an ichthyologist who is uncertain of the source of his copy. The fact that Messner (1962) is a mimeographed contribution does not make its new names unavailable. According to Article 8.4 of the ICZN (1999), "a work produced before 1986 must have been produced on paper by a printing method then conventional," including mimeographing.

The BALAIH 2(1) is a typical society bulletin, containing a series of subjects related to an association, such as meeting schedules, various kinds of announcements, new members lists, and short announcements about fishes and herps. The paper about the Tetragonopterinae from Uruguay ["Lista de los peces Tetragonopterinae (fam. Characidae) del Uruguay"] is listed under the title "Investigacion Cientifica" [scientific research] and seems to constitute the results of new and previously unpublished research. At the beginning of Messner's list it is stated that "Este estudio se publicará in extenso por el Múseo N. de Historia Natural" [this study will be published in full by the Múseo Nacional de Historia Natural] possibly in the Comun. Mus. Hist. Nat. Montevideo, but Emil Messner passed away in 1962 shortly after submission of the paper, which was never published (pers. comm. to T. Litz by Hebert Nión and Juan Reichert Lang, Montevideo).

Although the projected manuscript referred to by Messner was never published, we consider that the mimeographed paper of 1962 meets the requirements of the ICZN (1999, Article 11) for recognition as a published work for nomenclatural and scientific purposes, and consider the three names proposed by Messner (1962) (Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis, Astyanacinus platensis, and Astyanax stenohalinus) as available. Here we also briefly further discuss certain questions related to the availability, homonymy, synonymy, and validity of Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis.

The status of Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner, 1962

Weitzman & Palmer (1997), while reviewing a subgroup of Hyphessobrycon, recognized the species described by Fowler (1943) as Megalamphodus (Ectrepopterus) uruguayensis as valid, and belonging to a clade designated by them as the Rosy-tetras. Weitzman & Palmer (1997) listed the species of Fowler in a new combination, Hyphessobrycon uruguayensis (Fowler, 1943). Through their action, Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner, 1962, even though described as a subspecies, would become a secondary junior homonym and invalid, according to ICZN (1999: article 53.3). Thus the usage of both Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner (1962) along with the usage of Hyphessobrycon uruguayensis (Fowler, 1943) in the lists published latter by Nion et al. (2002:11) and Reichert-Lang (2002) were erroneous.

However, we recognize herein that Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner belongs to the same species described as Cyanocharax macropinna by Malabarba & Weitzman (2003). According to the ICZN (1999: Article 59.2), if the junior species-group name has not been replaced and the taxa are no longer considered congeneric, the junior name is not to be rejected, even if one species-group name was originally proposed in the current genus of the other. Thus, Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uru guayensis Messner, 1962, placed as a secondary junior homonym of Hyphessobrycon uruguayensis (Fowler, 1943) by the action of Weitzman & Palmer (1997) as discussed above, is not to be rejected due to the action of Malabarba & Weitzman (2003) who considered its allocation to a different genus (Cyanocharax), and therefore we now refer to this species as Cyanocharax uruguayensis (Messner, 1962), new combination.

Characters that allows the recognition of Messner species as a senior synonym of Cyanocharax macropinna among Cyanocharax species are the large number of branched anal-fin rays (31-32 in the syntypes and 28-35, mostly 29-33 according to Malabarba & Weitzman, 2003) and the convex profile of the anal fin (Figs. 1, 3).



The type material of Hyphessobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis Messner (1962)

No types were designated in the diagnosis of Hyphes sobrycon melanopleurus uruguayensis and only a broad reference was given to the locality of the examined specimens: "hasta ahora lo he encontrado solamente en la viertente del R. Uruguay" [up to now I have found only in the rio Uruguay drainage – our translation]. However, two specimens were listed as syntypes by Olazarri et al. (1970) in the holdings of the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Montevideo, numbered CI 758 and CI 759, and were collected by Messner in the arroyo Tomás Cuadra (a tributary of the rio Negro, itself a lower tributary of the rio Uruguay), Durazno, Uruguay (Lat. –33.38333; Long. – 56.41667), that is herein recognized as the type locality of the species. There is no date of collection.

The two specimens listed as syntypes by Olazarri et al. (1970) are available at MHNM, and were examined by one of us (LRM). CI 759 is a female (Fig. 1) identified in a hand written jar label as "Hyphessobrycon melanopl. uruguay. allotypus" (Fig. 2). CI 758 (Fig. 3) has no species determination but a hand written jar label (Fig. 4) stating that "abandonado por no conocer sexo" [discarded due to unknown sex]. Both specimens belong to the same species described as Cyanocharax macropinna by Malabarba & Weitzman (2003). Due to the fact that CI 759 is identified in the hand written label as the "allotypus", it seems reasonable to recognize that Messner had chosen a holotype, presently missing. The label of CI 758 stating that the specimen is "discarded due to unknown sex" does not make sure that the specimen does not belong to the type series, or only that it has not been selected as a primary type. Thus, we herein recognize both specimens as syntypes, as listed by Olazarri et al. (1970). Morphometric and meristic data of these syntypes are given in Table 1.






To Alvaro Mones for the permission to examine the type specimens housed in the Museo Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Montevideo, Uruguay. To Carlos Lucena, David G. Smith, Naércio Menezes, and Richard Vari for discussions regarding validity of Messner names. To Hebert Nión and Juan Reichert Lang for information about Emil Messner and his work (TL).


Literature cited

Eschmeyer, W. N. 1998. Catalog of fishes. Special Publication, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. 3 vols. 2905p.         [ Links ]

Fowler, H. W. 1943. Notes and descriptions of new or little known fishes from Uruguay. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, 95: 311-334.         [ Links ]

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. 1999. International code of zoological nomenclature. 4th edn. London. xxix+306 pp.         [ Links ]

Malabarba, L. R. & S. H. Weitzman. 2003. Description of a new genus with six new species from Southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, with a discussion of a putative characid clade (Teleostei: Characiformes: Characidae). Comunicações do Museu de Ciências e Tecnologia, PUCRS, Série Zoologia 16(1): 67-151.         [ Links ]

Messner, E. 1962. Lista de los peces Tetragonopterinae (fam. Characidae) del Uruguay, Boletin de la Associason Latino Americana de Ictiologos y Herpetologos, 2(1): 4-5 [the pages are not numbered sequentially; the paper contains four pages, the first numbered 4, the third numbered 5, the second and fourth pages not numbered].         [ Links ]

Nion, H., C. Ríos & P. Meneses. 2002. Peces del Uruguay. Lista systemática y nombres communes. Dinara – Infopesca, Montevideo. v+105p.         [ Links ]

Olazarri, J., A. Mones, A. Ximénez & M. E. Philippi. 1970. Lista de los ejemplares-tipo depositados en el Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Montevideo, Uruguay. Comunicaciones Zoológicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo, 10(131): 1-12.         [ Links ]

Reichert Lang, J. J. 2002. Atlas ilustrado de los peces de agua dulce del Uruguay. Probides, Rocha. 327p.         [ Links ]

Reis, R. E, S. O. Kullander & C. F. Ferraris Jr. (Eds.). 2003. Check List of the Freshwater fishes of South and Central America. Porto Alegre, Brazil: Edipucrs, 729p.         [ Links ]

Vaz-Ferreira, R. 1969. Peces del Uruguay. Nuestra Terra, Montevideo, 23: 1-73.         [ Links ]

Weitzman, S. H. & L. Palmer. 1997. A new species of Hy phessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from the Neblina region of Venezuela and Brazil, with comments on the putative 'rosy tetra clade'. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 7(3): 209-242.         [ Links ]



Received June, 2004
Accepted July, 2004

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