(02/11/2008)
Researchers have discovered a new species of small translucent fish in the lower Elk River near Charleston.

Stuart Welsh, assistant professor in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program at West Virginia University, named the new species Crystallaria cincotta, or diamond darter.

The diamond darter is a close relative of the crystal darter found in the Mississippi River's drainage basin.

Adult diamond darters range from 3 to 5 inches long.

They have fewer cheek scales than crystal darters. Other differences include sickle-shaped pelvic fins, a dark spot in front of the eye and a wide mouth gape.

Welsh says researchers believe the diamond darters found in the Elk River are the species' only known population.

Welsh named the fish in honor of Dan Cincotta, a fishery biologist with the state Division of Natural Resources and adjunct professor of ichthyology at WVU.


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