Thursday 12 April 2012

News species of Velvetfish from the Kimberly Coast of Western Australia.

Velvetfish are a form of Scorpaeniforme Fish noted for the velvety texture of their skin. They are spiny (sometimes poisonous), bottom dwelling fish found at depths of up to 100 m. The genus Pseudopataecus has until now been known from a single species from the coast of Queensland, P. taenianotus.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 15 February 2012, Jeffrey Johnson of the Ichthyology Collection at Queensland Museum, describes a new species of Velvetfish in the genus Pseudopataecus from the Kimberly Coast of Western Australia.

Map showing the distribution of P. taenianotus (dots) and the new species (stars). Filled stars represent areas where specimens were collected, the open star a site where the new species was photographed by a diver, but not collected. Johnson (2012).

The new species is named as Pseudopataecus carnatobarbatus, the Goatee Velvetfish (carnatobarbatus meaning 'fleshy-beard', in reference to a fleshy growth on the fish's chin). It differs from P. taenianotus in having branched tips to most of its fin rays (those of P. taenianotus having simple tips), as well as in the shapes and sizes of the fins and the presence of the goatee-like chin-growth. The colour of P. carnatobarbatus is quite variable.

Three different colour patterns in Pseudopataecus carnatobarbatus. (A) derives its colour from a layer of greenish-brown mucus. (B & C) lack this, the colour is that of their skin.

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