The species is called Lacantunia enigmatica while the entire family will be called Lacantuniidae. The fish live in the Chiapas region of Mexico. The Lacantuniidae is the 37th species of living catfish.
"To most people it's just a catfish, and externally it looks a lot like an ictalurid, the family to which all North American freshwater catfishes belong," said Dean Hendrickson, one of the discoverers, said in a prepared statement. "But once we got into the skeleton, we started seeing all these weird things."
The catfish are somewhat rare. The researchers collected just one specimen in a recent five-day expedition.
Finding new families of living vertebrates is rare. In ichthyology, only two new families have been discovered in the past 60 years: the coelacanth in 1938 and the megamouth shark in 1983.