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Harant, R., Bohlen, J.

Only malformations made the genus: Enobarbus (Cobitidae) is a synonym of Lepidocephalichthys

Journal of Fish Biology 77: 2443-2453

The genus Enobarbus (Cobitidae: Cypriniformes) is known from a single specimen and has been considered unique among the Cobitidae due to its high number of dorsal-fin rays. External and internal morphological characters of the holotype of Enobarbus maculatus (Day, 1868) were examined and compared with those of other cobitid species to verify whether Enobarbus is a distinct genus. Analyses of radiographs demonstrated that the neural spines and the pterygiophores of the dorsal fin are of irregular shape, often doubled, reduced or bent. The holotype of E. maculatus bears an ossified structure on the last pectoral-fin ray, a structure otherwise known only from males of the genus Lepidocephalichthys. In Lepidocephalichthys the shape of the ossified structure is species-specific, and the structure of Enobarbus is very similar to that of Lepidocephalichthys thermalis, the only other known species of the family Cobitidae occurring at the type locality of Enobarbus. Furthermore, the cranial and the axial skeleton of E. maculatus is similar to that of L. thermalis, except for the pterigyophores and the neural spines, that are strongly malformed in Enobarbus. In general, the results presented here show that the genus Enobarbus shares the most important characters (thickening of last two pectoral fin rays in males, structure of swimbladder capsule, shape of neurocranium and suborbital spine) with Lepidocephalichthys and that its long dorsal fin is correlated with strong malformations of the vertebral column and the fin ray insertions. Consequently, the only known specimen of Enobarbus is most likely a teratological male of L. thermalis, and Enobarbus is a junior synonym of Lepidocephalichthys.