Seven new records of fish (Teleostei:
Perciformes) from coral reefs and pelagic
habitats in southern Mindanao, the
arthur r. bos1,2,3and girley s. gumanao4
1Department of Biology, School of Sciences and Engineering, The American University in Cairo, PO Box 74, New Cairo 11835,
Egypt,2John D. Gerhart Field Station, The American University in Cairo, Kafr El-Gouna, Egypt,3Department of Marine Zoology,
Naturalis Biodiversity Center, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands,4Research Office, Davaodel Norte State College,New
Visayas, 8105 Panabo, Philippines
Seven coral reef-associated and deep-water fish species were found in a local fish market on Samal Island in the Davao Gulf,
constituting the first records for the Philippine archipelago. The specific geographical distributions of Eumegistus illustris
(Bramidae), Paracaesio kusakarii (Lutjanidae) and Saloptia powelli (Serranidae) are greatly enlarged by these observations.
The first records of Ariomma brevimanum (Ariommatidae), Brama orcini (Bramidae), Aulacocephalus temminckii
(Serranidae) and Pseudanthias fasciatus (Serranidae) confirm the Indo-Pacific-wide distributions of these species. In contrast
to the other records, A. brevimanum and B. orcini were encountered regularly and length–weight relationships, not earlier
provided in the scientific literature, were calculated. We also measured the largest specimen ever for B. orcini (total length of
420 mm). These observations substantiate the uniqueness of the poorly-studied fauna of the southern Philippines and under-
line the importance of marine Philippine fauna within the Coral Triangle.
Keywords: Ariommatidae, biodiversity, Bramidae, Celebes Sea, Coral Triangle, Davao Gulf, Lutjanidae, Serranidae
Submitted 6 April 2013; accepted 10 June 2013
Seas surrounding the more than 7000 islands of the Philippine
archipelago host the highest biodiversity of marine fauna in
the world, including the teleost fish (Tittensor et al., 2010).
For decades, the Philippine marine fish have been intensively
studied covering topics such as taxonomy and distribution
Protected Areas (MPAs) (e.g. Russ & Alcala, 1996) and biodi-
versity (e.g. Carpenter & Springer, 2005; Bos, 2011). However,
the vast majority of ichthyological studies were conducted in
the northern (Luzon) and central seas (Visayas) of the
country, which form the epicentre of marine species diversity
within the Coral Triangle (Hoeksema, 2007; Sanciangco et al.,
2013). A much lower number of studies has been carried out
in the southern Island of Mindanao (especially along the
western and southern shores), as this region has suffered
under scenes of political unrest. For that reason, the develop-
ment of a research infrastructure has been hampered and
knowledge about Mindanao’s natural resources is limited.
The Davao Gulf, a large bay located in south-eastern
Mindanao bordering the Celebes Sea, is one area of which
little biological information is known. Therefore, it may not
be surprising that recent studies have revealed unique ecologi-
cal phenomena (Bos et al., 2008a; Bos, 2012) as well as first
records (Bos & Smits, 2013) and new taxonomic descriptions
of fish species (Motomura et al., 2001). The chance of observ-
ing first records or discovering new species is thus relatively
high along the coasts of Mindanao as earlier predicted by
Carpenter & Springer (2005).
Networks of MPAs have been created to conserve species
diversity, but knowledge of spatial distributions of many
species remains incomplete (Dalleau et al., 2010; Weeks
et al., 2010). Furthermore, climate change impacts marine bio-
diversity through changes in species distributions (e.g. extinc-
tions or invasions; Cheung et al., 2009). For these reasons, it is
of utmost importance that new records of fish species, contri-
buting to expanding geographical distributions, are reported.
The present study describes new records of fish found in a
local market on Samal Island and discusses their specific
range extensions. It further provides morphometric data and
describes, when appropriate, length–weight relationships
and the seasonality of occurrence.
MA TER IAL S AND MET HOD S
All fish were found at the local fish market in Pen ˜a Plata on
Samal Island, which is located in the Davao Gulf, the
Philippines (see figure 1 in Bos et al., 2008b; Bos et al.,
2013). Pen ˜a Plata market is the main fish market on Samal
Marine Biodiversity Records, page 1 of 6.
doi:10.1017/S1755267213000614; Vol. 6; e95; 2013 Published online
# Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2013
Island, where artisanal fishermen sell their catches. Freezing
capacity at Pen ˜a Plata market is very limited assuring that
the majority of fish are sold within 24 hours. Furthermore,
fish found on Pen ˜a Plata market were considered to originate
from waters surrounding Samal Island, as deliveries from
other areas rarely occurred (Bos & Gumanao, 2012).
The Pen ˜a Plata market was frequently visited (N ¼ 139) at
irregular intervals between 4 March 2009 and 25 May 2011.
Species identification was usually done on the spot, but repre-
sentatives of unidentified species were photographed to
support later identification. Additional photographs were
High-resolution photographs were used to count spines,
rays, scales, etc. allowing identification with data provided in
FishBase (Froese & Pauly, 2012). Specialized literature
(given in each section below) and/or expert opinions (see
Acknowledgements) were used to confirm the identifications.
Standard length (SL), total length (TL) and, when appro-
priate, fork length (FL) were measured at 5 mm accuracy.
Specimens with a SL ,100 mm were measured at 1 mm accu-
racy. Specimens were weighed on a digital scale at 1 g accu-
racy. Length–weight relationships (W ¼ a.Lb; where a is
the incept and b the slope of the log-transformed data) were
calculated if more than ten specimens per species were found.
RE SU L TS
Ariomma brevimanum (Klunzinger, 1884)
Driftfish (Figure 1)
Specimens of Ariomma brevimanum were regularly encoun-
tered on the Pen ˜a Plata market. Measurements were con-
ducted during 7.9% of all visits, but vendors indicated that
this species was available on the market more frequently.
Specimens (37 in total) were measured on 2 July 2009 (3 speci-
mens), 5 October 2009 (1), 10 February 2010 (11), 19
February 2010 (2), 26 February 2010 (5), 5 March 2010 (2),
16 April 2010 (4), 3 September 2010 (3), 1 December 2010
(2), 14 December 2010 (3) and 18 May 2011 (1). Standard
length of the specimens ranged from 115 to 475 mm, FL
ranged from 130 to 510 mm, TL ranged from 145 to
590 mm and the weight ranged from 37 to 1756 g.
The anterior dorsal fin had 11–12 slender spines; the first 3–5
spines were black, whereas the remaining fin had a grey
colour. The posterior dorsal fin had 15 soft rays and a grey
colour. The caudal fin was generally grey, had a dark edge
and the tips of both lobes were black. The dorsal and caudal
fins had a light yellow shine in some specimens. The anal
fin had two spines, 14–15 rays and was white in colour. The
pectoral fins had 23 rays, were black, but became gradually
white toward their ventral sites. The pelvic fins had one
spine, five rays and were white. 52–53 scales were counted
along the lateral line. Larger specimens had a dark edge at
the dorsal posterior end of the operculum. The body was
elongated and rounded with a general silver appearance.
The nape and the dorsal areas were darkened. Most specimens
had a black marking at the posterior, dorsal edge of the eye.
Ariomma brevimanum is known from Japan, Guam,
Indonesia, Fiji, Hawaii, Tuvalu, the Ryukyu Islands and the
Red Sea (Froese & Pauly, 2012). In January 2012, this
species was observed in Hurghada, Egypt, which also consti-
tuted a new national record (A.R. Bos, personal observation).
Parameters of the length–weight relationships for SL, FL and
TL are given in Table 1. This species grows to a maximum of
800 mm TL (Masuda et al., 1984).
Brama orcini Cuvier, 1831
Bigtooth or bigbelly pomfret (Figure 2A)
A total of 32 specimens of Brama orcini were found on the
Pen ˜a Plata market during 7.2% of all visits. Specimens were
measured on 30 October 2009 (7 specimens), 19 February
2010 (3), 7 June 2010 (2), 29 June 2010 (1), 26 August 2010
(2), 12 October 2010 (3), 23 November 2010 (3), 26
November 2010 (1), 11 February 2011 (6) and 27 April
2011 (4). Standard length of the specimens ranged from 155
to 285 mm, FL ranged from 185 to 330 mm, TL ranged
from 240 to 420 mm and the weight ranged from 126 to 663 g.
Dorsal fin rays 0 + 33–36; anal fin rays 0 + 28–30; pectoral
fin rays 20–22; lateral line scales 52–54. Scales without
Table 1. Ariomma brevimanum (Ariommatidae) and Brama orcini
(Bramidae): parameters of the length–weight relationships for standard
length (SL), fork length (FL) and total length (TL) are shown. Intercept a,
slope b, correlation coefficient r2and the total numbers of observations
(N) are provided per species.
Fig. 1. Ariomma brevimanum (Ariommatidae) found at the Pen ˜a Plata
market, Samal Island, Philippines on 5 March 2010 (photograph: A.R. Bos).
2 arthur r. bos and girley s. gumanao
spines. Body silvery white in colour. A black band along the
back from above the eye to the caudal peduncle. Most speci-
mens had a bright white spot at the anterior base of the
dorsal fin (Figure 2A); a characteristic not found in earlier
descriptions. Dorsal and caudal fins dark. Anal fin silvery
white as body; fin base covered with scales. Pectoral and
pelvic fins translucent.
Brama orcini is known as an epipelagic species and generally
found at depths ranging from 1 m to 100 m (Last & Moteki,
2001). Mundy (2005) reported specimens as deep as
1229 m. Brama orcini is known from tropical and sub-tropical
seas in the Indo-Pacific with records from Japan, Papua New
Guinea, Hawaii, the Maldives and Australia (Froese & Pauly,
2012). Parameters of the length–weight relationships for this
species are presented in Table 1.
Eumegistus illustris Jordan & Jordan, 1922
Brillant pomfret (Figure 2B)
Two specimens of Eumegistus illustris were found at the Pen ˜a
Plata market on 28 September 2010 (415 mm SL, 510 mm FL,
600 mm TL and a weight of 2593 g) and 16 May 2011
(370 mm SL, 445 mm FL, 510 mm TL and a weight of 1784 g).
Dorsal fin rays 0 + 33; anal fin rays 0 + 23–24; pectoral 1 fin
rays 20; lateral line scales 50. Body colour dark brown. Dorsal
and anal fins with black margin. Forked caudal fin with inter-
rupted black margin.
Eumegistus illustris is known to live in relatively deep water up
to 520 m (Mundy, 2005) like most other representatives of the
Bramidae (Carvalho-Filho et al., 2009). It is mainly known
from the Pacific Ocean with records from Japan, Taiwan,
Hawaii, Fiji, China, Re ´union, Australia, Ryukyu and Tuvalu
(Froese & Pauly, 2012). The maximum length for this
species is 550 mm SL (Last & Moteki, 2001).
Paracaesio kusakarii Abe, 1960
Saddleback snapper (Figure 3)
One specimen of Paracaesio kusakarii was found at the Pen ˜a
Plata market on 25 March 2010 with a SL of 180 mm, a FL of
210 mm, a TL of 240 mm and a weight of 221 g.
Dorsal fin rays X + 10; anal fins rays III + 8; pectoral fin rays
16; lateral line scales 49. Body silvery with four brown almost
vertical bands and dark brown on the dorsal side of the head
(Abe, 1960). Dark-tipped scales form longitudinal lines,
especially below the lateral line. The fins are grey to whitish;
the margin of the dorsal fin yellow. Most of the caudal fin
yellow, but upper seven fin rays of dorsal lobe white.
Paracaesio kusakarii is found at depths ranging from 100 to
310 m (Anderson & Allen, 2001), but is usually found at
125 to 250 m (Froese & Pauly, 2012). Paracaesio kusakarii is
known from the western Pacific (Ryukyu Islands to north-
eastern Australia and east to Samoa). The maximum length
for this species is 600 mm SL (Anderson & Allen, 2001).
Aulacocephalus temminckii Bleeker, 1854
Goldribbon soapfish (Figure 4A)
One specimen of Aulacocephalus temminckii was found at the
Pen ˜a Plata market on 16 May 2011 with a SL of 230, a TL of
265 mm and a weight of 236 g.
Dorsal fin rays IX + 12; anal fin rays III + 9; pectoral fin rays
14; pelvic fin rays I + 5; lateral line scales 79. Colour of the
Fig. 2. Brama orcini (A) and Eumegistus illustris (B) of the Bramidae found at
the Pen ˜a Plata market, Samal Island, Philippines on 11 February 2011 and 16
May 2011 respectively (photographs: A.R. Bos).
Fig. 3. Paracaesio kusakarii (Lutjanidae) found at the Pen ˜a Plata market,
Samal Island, Philippines on 25 March 2010 (photograph: A.R. Bos).
seven new fish from mindanao3
body dark blue with a bright yellow band from snout, through
the eye, along the back to the caudal fin. Proximal end of
dorsal fins bright yellow being part of the band. Caudal fin
base bright yellow. Proximal end of first rays of pelvic fin
yellow. Thin yellow line along the margin of the maxilla. Fin
rays (except in pectoral fins) dark blue and tissue translucent
Aulacocephalus temminckii is an inhabitant of coral reefs with
a depth distribution of 20–350 m. It is widely distributed in
the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and South Africa to New
Zealand and Japan, and further east to French Polynesia
(Khalaf & Zajonz, 2007). The maximum length known for
this species is 400 mm TL (Lieske & Myers, 2002).
Pseudanthias fasciatus (Kamohara, 1954)
Striped anthias or one-stripe anthias (Figure 4B)
One specimen of Pseudanthias fasciatus was found at the Pen ˜a
Plata market on 10 February 2010 with a SL of 87 mm, a FL of
103 mm, a TL of 144 mm and a weight of 25 g.
Dorsal fin rays X + 16; anal fin rays III + 7; pectoral fin rays
17; lateral line scales 44. Body brightly orange with a red stripe
(and white margins) from the opercular flap to the caudal fin
base. Scales have dark spots dorsal of the red stripe, whereas
scales ventral to the red stripe have orange spots forming
narrow lines. The fins are orange in colour.
Pseudanthias fasciatus is typically found in coral reef habitats,
but may reach depths up to 150 m (Myers, 1999). This species
is known from the Red Sea to southern Japan and the Great
Barrier Reef. Recently it was reported from Tonga (Randall
et al., 2004). The maximum length known for this species is
210 mm TL (Randall et al., 1996).
Saloptia powelli Smith, 1964
Golden grouper (Figure 4C)
One specimen of Saloptia powelli was found at the Pen ˜a Plata
market on 12 April 2011 with a SL of 390 mm, a FL of
460 mm, a TL of 480 mm and a weight of 1691 g.
Doral fin rays VIII + 11; anal fin rays III + 8; pectoral fin rays
14; lateral line scales 76. Body generally yellow. Dorsal side
lighter in colour with some areas turning rose (Figure 4C).
Some reddish blotches/blushes on the head and above the
eye. Fins yellow.
This species is known to inhabit depths in the range of 140–
367 m (Heemstra & Randall, 2001). It is found from the
Ryukyu Islands to the Great Barrier Reef, east to the
Mariana Islands and Society Islands, and west to Taiwan
(Heemstra & Randall, 2001). The maximum length known
for this species is 500 mm TL (Heemstra & Randall, 2001).
D I S C U SS I O N
Ariomma brevimanum, a representative of the Ariommatidae,
is generally considered a rare species, but has been locally
caught in large quantities in Japan (Last, 2001). During the
present study many specimens were observed, but their occur-
rence did not follow a seasonal pattern. Vendorsindicated that
specimens of A. brevimanum are available on the market rela-
tively frequently and that we only measured a small fraction
during our visits. This means thatA. brevimanum is an impor-
tant food fish in Samal Island and that there must be, similarly
as in Japan (Last, 2001), a large population that supports its
fishery in the Davao Gulf. The specimens measured on the
Pen ˜a Plata market were of moderate size (Masuda et al.,
1984) and constitute the first record of A. brevimanum in
the Philippineseas. This
Indo-Pacific-wide distribution and may suggest that other
localized populations of this species support subsistence fish-
eries. Brama orcini, one of the two representatives of the
Bramidae found on the fish market in Pen ˜a Plata, also has
an Indo-Pacific-wide distribution. The 32 specimens consti-
tute the first record of Brama orcini in the Philippines and
provide a new maximum size of 420 mm TL. The maximum
length known for this species was 350 mm TL (Eschmeyer
Fig. 4. Aulacocephalus temminckii (A), Pseudanthias fasciatus (B) and
Saloptia powelli (C) of the Serranidae found at the Pen ˜a Plata market, Samal
Island, Philippines on 16 May 2011, 10 February 2010 and 12 April 2011
respectively (photographs: A.R. Bos).
4 arthur r. bos and girley s. gumanao
et al., 1983). The observations of B. orcini at the Pen ˜a Plata
market do not suggest a seasonal pattern of occurrence in
the Davao Gulf. According to the vendors, this species is reg-
ularly sold on the market and should be considered a food fish
for this region. The two specimens of Eumegistus illustris
(Bramidae) found in Samal Island constitute the first record
of this species in the Philippines and further expand its distri-
species, as well as thefollowing species to be discussed, are very
uncommon in the Pen ˜a Plata market and do not play an
important role in the local fishery. Last & Moteki (2001) ques-
tioned an earlier observation of E. illustris in Guam, but con-
sidering the relative nearness of Guam to the Philippines
that observation may be valid. The specimens observed in
Samal Island were relatively large considering the maximum
known size of 550 mm SL (Last & Moteki, 2001).
A medium-sized specimen
(Lutjanidae), found during the present study, constitutes the
first record in the Philippines. Paracaesio kusakarii was
thought to be distributed east of the axis formed by
southern Japan and north-east Australia. However, one
single observation from Singapore had already suggested a
distribution in western direction (Anderson & Allen, 2001),
which is confirmed by the present record.
Thetwo serranids Aulacocephalus
Indo-Pacific region (Froese & Pauly, 2012), but had never
been recorded in the Philippines. Both species were rep-
resented by only one specimen of moderate size (Lieske &
Myers, 2002). One moderate-sized specimen of Saloptia
powelli, the third representative of the Serranidae, constitutes
another first record in the Philippine seas. This is the most
western record at the latitude of the Davao Gulf (Heemstra
& Randall, 2001) further expanding the distribution area of
The seven newly recorded fish that are presented in this
study provide new knowledge about their specific distri-
butions and give an indication about their original distri-
butions or possible range extensions. In either case, this
information is important when it comes to conservation
efforts for the species in question or, in a broader sense, for
the entire Indo-Pacific biodiversity. The marine biodiversity
of the Philippine archipelago increases with every new
record and may be much higher than previously assumed.
Past predictions had already indicated that the core of
Indo-Pacific marine biodiversity must be in the Philippines
(Hoeksema, 2007; Sanciangco et al., 2013). The present
study and other recently described species and new records
from the Philippines (e.g. Randall & Allen, 2010; Uiblein &
McGrouther, 2012; Bos & Smits, 2013) underline the impor-
tance of the Philippine fauna as part of the marine biodiversity
within the larger Coral Triangle. Therefore, it must be empha-
sized that increased efforts are needed to help conserve the
abundance of marine life in the Philippines.
the widely in
We thank B. Mueller, S. Nitza, M. Saceda-Cardoza and the
vendors of the Pen ˜a Plata market for supporting the fieldwork.
We further acknowledge K. Carpenter (Old Dominion
University), J. Randall (Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum),
S. Kuang-Tsao and L. Yun-Chih (Academia Sinica), who
confirmed some identifications, and M. Madison (National
Conservation Training Center), who provided a copy of
Herre (1953). This research received no specific grant from
any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
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Correspondence should be addressed to:
Department of Biology
School of Sciences and Engineering
The American University in Cairo
PO Box 74, New Cairo
6 arthur r. bos and girley s. gumanao