Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A new species of Goby from the southwest Indian Ocean.

Gobies are small, elongate Fish related to Perches. They are a highly successful group with other 2000 species and are found across the globe. There are both marine and freshwater Gobies, as well as one group, the Mudskippers, that can survive out of water for extended periods of time. The smallest known Vertebrates are species of Goby under 1 cm in length as adults, though there are several contenders for the official title of smallest species.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 19 March 2013, Naomi Delventhal and Randall Mooi of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba describe a new species of Goby from the southwest Indian Ocean, based upon three specimens collected in the Comoros Islands in 1988 and one specimen collected from off the coast of South Africa in 1998.

The species is placed in the genus Callogobius, which contains about 40 shallow marine species from around the fringes of the Indian Ocean, and given the specific name winterbottomi, in honour of Rick Winterbottom of the Royal Ontario Museum, who collected the Comoron specimens. 

Callogobius winterbottomi is a small Goby, the largest specimen being 37.7 mm in length. It is distinguished from other species of the same genus by the pattern of sensory papillae (external tastebuds) on its head. 

Sensory papillae pattern in Callogobius winterbottomi. (a) Lateral view. Arrow indicates anterior extent of gill opening. (b) Dorsal view. Scale bar is 2 mm. Delventhal & Mooi (2013).

The three specimens of Callogobius winterbottomi from the Comoros, shown to scale. Scale bar is 5 mm. Delventhal & Mooi (2013).

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