Thursday 5 September 2013

New species of Wrasse from the Unfortunate Islands.

Wrasses (Labridae) are small, carnivorous Perciform Fish found in marine waters across the world. They are a diverse group with many specialized forms, though typical Wrasse feed on a wide range small invertebrates and are drawn to areas where disturbance of sediments, including that made by the feeding activities of larger Fish, disturbs small prey and brings it into the open.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 16 April 2013, Barry Russell of the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Mark Westneat of the Field Museum of Natural History describe a new species of Wrasse from reefs and shoals around the  Unfortunate Islands (Islas de los Desventurados), a remote and largely uninhabited group of islands 850 km from the coast of Chile.

The new species is placed in the genus Suezichthys and given the specific name rosenblatti in honour of  Richard Rosenblatt, a distinguished ichthyologist at the Scripps Institution of OceanographySuezichthys rosenblatti is a small Wrasse, reaching at most 70-80 mm in length. It is brown in colour and with seven large darker blotches covering the dorsal side. The females grew slightly large than the males. The species was found living around shallow rocky reefs and shoals in the Unfortunate Islands, at depths of no more than 33 m.

Suezichthys rosenblatti; (A) male and (B) female. Russell & Westneat (2013).

The approximate location of the Unfortunate Islands. Google Maps.

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