Osteological characteristics of Turkmenian stone loach, Paraschistura cristata (Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae)

Hoda Azimi, Hamed Mousavi-Sabet, Soheil Eagderi, Saber Vatandoust


Formerly the Turkmenian stone loach was the only member of the genus Metaschistura based on osteological characters. But recently, it is placed in the genus Paraschistura based on mtDNA COI data. To provide a detailed description of the osteological characteristics of Paraschistura cristata (Berg 1898), ten specimens of P. cristata were collected from the Hari River basin in Iran and their osteological characteristics were examined. According to the results, P. cristata is osteologically characterized by a foramen in the ventral part of the exoccipital, two extra urohyals, sesamoid ossifications, trapezoid-shaped prevomer, three basibranchials, five hypural, lack of bony bridge between the parietal and pterotic, having over 20 procurrent rays supporting the adipose crest. The detailed skeletal description of P. cristata showed that this species can be easily distinguished from the related genera. Despite the mtDNA COI result, the osteological data of this species showed some features to describe it as a distinctive genus, but this needs the osteological data of the all other Paraschistura species to be compared.


Osteology, Metaschistura, Skeleton, Hari River basin, Iran.

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