New Fish Species Discovered in Venezuela

In an era of mass extinction, it’s always nice to hear about the discovery of new species. So the members of an expedition sponsored by Conservation International were thrilled to discover 10 new fish species in Venezuela’s Upper Caura River. Of the 10 new species, only one has been described so far — the bloodfin tetra, a tiny fish with a bright red tail. The Caura River, a tributary of the Orinoco, flows through one of Venezuela’s most pristine and biologically intact ecosystems, but the region faces increasing threats from agriculture, damming, and logging. As a result, conservationists, including those who took part in CI’s Aquatic Rapid Assessment Program, are pushing for protection of the area for ecological and scientific purposes: “We’re just scratching the surface of what’s out there and I’m sure the Caura holds many more remarkable plants and animals that are completely new to science,” said CI’s Leeanne Alonso.