Wednesday 4 February 2015

A new species of Serranine Perchlet from the Philippines.

The Philippines form a major component of the Indo-Malay-Philippine Archipelago, which is considered to be a major biodiversity hotspot, with the highest diversity among coastal marine Fishes seen anywhere in the world, and many new species described every year. As such the country regularly visited by scientific vessels from major research organisations, looking for new fish species in the waters around its many islands, atolls and reefs. However other scientists have taken to searching the numerous Philippine Fish markets, looking for undescribed species caught by local fishermen.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 19 January 2015, Jeffrey Williams of the Division of Fishes at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution and Kent Carpenter of the Department of Biological Sciences at Old DominionUniversity, describe a new species of Serranine Perchlet from a specimen obtained from the Public Fish Market in Iloilo City.

The new species is placed in the genus Chelidoperca, and given the specific name santosi, in honour of the Philippine researcher Mudjekeewis Santos of the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and National Fisheries Research and Development Institute in Manila, for his contributions to the advancement of science in the Philippines and help with the project which discovered the new species.

The specimen was found in the mouth of a large Grouper, which the vendor reported had been imported in a consignment of Fish from Palawan. A subsequent search of specimens in the collections of major museums, universities and other research institutes found two further specimens in the collection of Museum Victoria and the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.

The new species is a small Perchlet, 69-84 mm in length. It is white on its underside, with pinkish markings towards the underside. The upper side is mottled pinkish and yellowish orange, with four dark spots between the eyes and two on the lower lip. Its fins are white, with yellow markings.

Specimen of Chelidoperca santosi from the Public Fish Market in Iloilo City, shortly after being discovered. Jeffrey Williams in Williams & Carpenter (2015).

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