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Jaguar-Like Catfish, Stenolicnus Ix, Discovered In Amazon (PHOTO)

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A tiny, translucent, Jaguar-like catfish was recently discovered in Brazil's Amazon River.

The catfish, named Stenolicnus ix, is just two centimeters long and features "slender, whisker-like tactile organs extending from the mouth." It also has a cream-colored trunk spotted with dark patches, similar to a Jaguar. The journal Zootaxa published information on the discovery.

Stenolicnus ix was found by members of an expedition organized by EmílioGoeldi Museum, Conservation International Brazil and the Environment Secretary of the State of Pará. The group was finishing their research in a five meter wide riverbed when they collected the catfish with a sieve.

The region in the northern state of Pará where the researchers were studying is considered the world's largest block of protected rainforest. Conservation International's Patricia Baião states, "Discoveries like this one remind us that we still have a lot to learn about the biodiversity of the Amazon... Only the protection of [the area's] limits and real implementation will achieve this area's purpose: the conservation of these native forests."

Conservation International recently highlighted the 10 most at-risk forests in the world. Many forests are threatened by deforestation -- in turn, all of the species inhabiting these forests are threatened as well. While newly discovered species such as Stenolicnus ix offer hope for the future, forests must be preserved in order to ensure their survival.

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