Sunday 9 September 2012

Two new species of Sandperch from the South China Sea.

Sandperches are usually small, elongate, spiny fish in the Perch order. They are often brightly coloured and live close to the seafloor, where they feed on Crustaceans and other invertebrates. Male Sandperch are often territorial, defending a harem of females. Some forms excavate burrows.

Many populations of Sandperch from the Indian Ocean and South China Sea were formerly classified under the name Parapercis somaliensis, until a study published in 2008 which placed the South China Sea specimens in a separate species, Parapercis shaoi. In 2010 a third species, Parapercis randalli, was described from specimens collected off the south coast of Taiwan.

(Top) Parapercis shaoi. (Bottom) Parapercis randalli. Ho et al. (2012).

In a paper published in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology on 29 February 2012, Hsuan-Ching Ho of the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium and the Institute of Marine Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology at the National Donghwa University, Chia-Hao Chang of the Department of Biological Science and Technology at the National Chiao Tung University and Kwang-Tsao Shao of the Biodiversity Research Center at Academia Sinica, describe two new species of Sandperch from individuals that were put to one side during the 2010 study due to their unusual coloration, and which have now been shown to be separate species via DNA analysis. 

The first new species described is Parapercis kentingensis, the Kenting Sandperch, named for the Kenting National Park in southern Taiwan, where the first specimens were found, though additional samples were obtained from across the northern part of the South China Sea and from coastal waters near Japan. Parapercis kentingensis is a 107-137 mm reddish fish with brown blotches on its body and brown spots on its fins, and a yellowish bar beneath the eyes.

Parapercis kentingensis. Ho et al. (2012).

The second new Fish described is named Parapercis rubromaculata, the Redspot Sandperch. It is a 78-114 mm fish with numerous red spots, that was found along the south coast of Taiwan and in the northern South China Sea.

Parapercis rubromaculata. Ho et al. (2012).

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