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Cirrhilabrus efatensis, a new species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae) from Vanuatu, South Pacific Ocean


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The new labrid species, Cirrhilabrus efatensis, is described from six specimens, 42.7–69.4 mm SL, collected from Éfaté Island in Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean. The new species, along with C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi, form a small complex of allopatric closely related species in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, distinguished by a combination of features of the color pattern of terminal-phase males: black anteriormost dorsal-fin spines and membranes, a relatively uniform red-to-orange body color, a yellow anal fin with a blue-violet outer margin, and a dusky nape. The new species differs from C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi in having a bright-red head and anterior body delimited abruptly from the orange posterior body. The mtDNA barcode COI sequence for C. efatensis is the same as that of C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi, not surprising in view of the prevalence of shared haplotypes among some members of species complexes in Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus. The new species is apparently endemic to Vanuatu, adjacent to the range of C. bathyphilus in the Coral Sea, but not overlapping, and is likely another example of microendemism for the genus.
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68 Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 26, 6879 (2017)
Cirrhilabrus efatensis, a new species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae)
from Vanuatu, South Pacic Ocean
P.O. Box 389, Kuranda, Queensland 4881, Australia
Sydney University Village, 90 Carillon Ave, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia
Jinguh Clinic, 2-2-79 Jinguh, Miyazaki, Miyazaki 880, Japan
The new labrid species, Cirrhilabrus efatensis, is described from six specimens, 42.7–69.4 mm SL, collected from
Éfaté Island in Vanuatu in the South Pacic Ocean. The new species, along with C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi,
form a small complex of allopatric closely related species in the southeastern Pacic Ocean, distinguished by a
combination of features of the color pattern of terminal-phase males: black anteriormost dorsal-n spines and
membranes, a relatively uniform red-to-orange body color, a yellow anal n with a blue-violet outer margin, and a
dusky nape. The new species differs from C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi in having a bright-red head and anterior
body delimited abruptly from the orange posterior body. The mtDNA barcode COI sequence for C. efatensis is
the same as that of C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi, not surprising in view of the prevalence of shared haplotypes
among some members of species complexes in Cirrhilabrus and Paracheilinus. The new species is apparently
endemic to Vanuatu, adjacent to the range of C. bathyphilus in the Coral Sea, but not overlapping, and is likely
another example of microendemism for the genus.
Key words: taxonomy, ichthyology, systematics, coral-reef shes, fairy wrasse, DNA barcoding, endemism.
Citation: Walsh, F., Tea, Y.K. & Tanaka, H. (2017) Cirrhilabrus efatensis, a new species of wrasse (Teleostei:
Labridae) from Vanuatu, South Pacic Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 26, 68–79.
Date of publication of this version of record: 2 May 2017
The labrid genus Cirrhilabrus Temminck & Schlegel, 1845 comprises a large set of small, brightly colored,
sexually dimorphic coral-reef shes spanning the tropical Indo-Pacic region. Prior to 1974, only six species had
been described: Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura (Bleeker, 1851); C. solorensis Bleeker, 1853; C. temminckii Bleeker,
1853; C. jordani Snyder, 1904; C. ryukyuensis Ishigawa, 1904; and C. exquisitus Smith, 1957. In a recent paper
describing C. marinda from Indonesia, Allen, Erdmann & Dailami (2015) listed 51 known species for the genus.
Since then, several new species have been described: C. isosceles by Tea, Senou & Greene (2016); C. hygroxerus
by Allen & Hammer (2016); and C. rubeus and C. africanus by Victor (2016), bringing the total species count
to 55. These discoveries have resulted in Cirrhilabrus containing a species number second only to Halichoeres
Rüppell, 1835 amongst the wrasses of the family Labridae. Recent molecular studies have, however, suggested
that Halichoeres is likely polyphyletic, and should be extensively subdivided (Barber & Bellwood 2005), which
would make Cirrhilabrus unequivocally the most speciose wrasse genus.
Some nominal species of Cirrhilabrus with widespread distributions exhibit considerable variation in color
patterns throughout their range, e.g. Randall & Kuiter (1989) for C. punctatus and Kuiter (2010) for C. exquisitus.
In many cases, closer examination reveals concordance in genetic divergences and color patterns, leading to
splitting the nominal species into complexes of allopatric species, e.g. the C. rubriventralis complex (Victor
2016). Some members of species complexes do not diverge in mtDNA sequences, presumably a result of recent
speciation and/or continuing gene ow between populations, e.g. in the C. marinda complex (Allen, Erdmann &
Dailami 2015) and the C. humanni complex (Allen & Hammer 2016). The same phenomenon has been reported
among the related labrids of Paracheilinus (Allen, Erdmann & Yusmalinda 2016).
Randall & Nagareda (2002) described C. bathyphilus, from the Coral Sea, as the 41st member of the genus.
More recently, Walsh & Tanaka (2012) described C. nahackyi as the second member of the C. bathyphilus complex,
from Fiji and Tonga. In the description of C. nahackyi, the authors included a photograph of a terminal-phase male
(TP male) from Vanuatu which showed a considerable color-pattern difference from type-location C. bathyphilus
and hinted at a future paper resolving the taxonomic status of the sh. Recently, additional specimens have been
made available, allowing for the description herein of the 56th member of the genus.
Materials and Methods
Type specimens are deposited at the Queensland Museum, Australia (QM), Australian Museum, Sydney
(AMS), Zoological Reference Collection of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National
University of Singapore (ZRC), National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. (USNM), and University
of Miyazaki, Japan (MUFS).
All measurements were made point to point with digital calipers, recorded to the nearest 0.1 mm. Lengths
given for specimens are standard length (SL), the straight-line distance from the median anterior point of the upper
lip to the base of the caudal n (posterior end of the hypural plate). Head length is measured from the median
anterior point of the upper lip to the posterior end of the opercular membrane; snout length is from the same
anterior point to the eshy edge of the orbit. Body depth is the greatest depth measured to the base of the dorsal-
n spines, and body width is the greatest width just posterior to the opercular ap. Orbit diameter is the greatest
eshy diameter and the interorbital width is least bony width. Caudal peduncle length is measured horizontally
from the rear of the anal n to the base of the caudal n and caudal peduncle depth is the least depth. Predorsal,
pre-anal and prepelvic lengths are taken from the upper lip to the anterior origin of the respective n. Lengths of
each n spine and rays are taken from the base of each element.
Pectoral-n ray counts include the short rudimentary upper ray. The lateral line scale counts are given in two
parts, the anterior count from the upper end of the opecular ap to below the soft portion of the dorsal n. The
second or posterior lateral line count is from the midlateral pedunclar portion to the base of the caudal n (a single
scale usually located posterior to the base of the caudal n is included). Gill raker counts include rudiments and
only a total count is given, as it is difcult to determine which gill raker is at the angle.The vertebral count was
determined using an x-radiograph of the holotype.
Cirrhilabrus efatensis, n. sp.
Hooded Fairy-wrasse
Figures 1–4, 7A1, 7A2 & 9A; Table 1.
Holotype. QM I.40671, male, 69.4 mm SL, Vanuatu, Éfaté Island, storm damaged rubble slope, 30–50 m,
hand-net, L. Sharon, March 2005.
Paratypes. USNM 387559, male, 60.0 mm SL, same data as holotype; QM I.38235, female, 43.9 mm SL,
same data as holotype; MUFS 23366, female, 42.7 mm SL, same data as holotype, ZRC 55599, male, 43.4 mm
SL, Vanuatu, Éfaté Island, 45 m, rubble slopes, C. Dumaran, 6 June 2016; AMS I.47280-001, male, 48.9 mm SL,
Vanuatu, Éfaté Island, 45 m, rubble slope, C. Dumaran, 6 June 2016.
Diagnosis. Dorsal-n rays XI,9; anal-n rays III,9; pectoral-n rays 15; lateral-line scales 15–17+5–6; median
predorsal scales 5; horizontal scale rows on cheek below eye 2; gill rakers 14 (14–16); body depth 2.9–3.7 in
SL; body width 1.95–2.6 in body depth; head length 2.5–3.2 in SL; snout length 3.7–4.1 in HL; pelvic n short,
not reaching origin of anal n, 4.55–6.1 in SL; caudal n truncate to rounded in females to doubly emarginate in
males; eye large, orbit diameter 3.25–3.85 in HL; abdomen pale yellow, head and anterior portion of body red,
posterior body orange-yellow (color in alcohol pale), males with black submarginal band in caudal n and soft
portion of dorsal n and rst membrane of spinous dorsal-n black. Largest specimen 69.4 mm SL.
Description. Dorsal-n rays XI,9; anal-n rays III,9 (last soft ray missing in holotype); dorsal- and anal-n
soft rays branched except rst ray unbranched; last dorsal- and anal-n ray branched to base; pectoral-n rays 15,
upper two unbranched; pelvic-n rays I,5; principal caudal-n rays 13 (upper and lowermost unbranched), upper
and lower procurrent caudal-n rays 5–6, posteriormost segmented; lateral line interrupted, with dorsoanterior
series of pored scales 17 (15–17) and midlateral posterior peduncular series 5 (5–6); scales above lateral line to
origin of dorsal n 2; scales below lateral line to origin of anal n 6; median predorsal scales 5; median preprelvic
scales 6; horizontal rows of scales on cheek 2; circumpeduncular scales 16; gill rakers 14 (14–16); branchiostegal
rays 5; vertebrae 9 + 16.
Figure 1. Cirrhilabrus efatensis, TP male holotype, QM I.40671, 69.4 mm SL, Éfaté Island, Vanuatu (F. Walsh).
Body depth 3.05 (2.9–3.7) in SL; body compressed, width 2.2 (1.95–2.6) in body depth; head length 3.0 (2.5–
3.2) in SL; dorsal prole of head convex; snout moderately pointed, length 3.85 (3.7–4.1) in HL; orbit diameter
3.85 (3.25–3.85) in HL; interorbital space convex, least bony width 3.95 (3.75–4.7) in HL; caudal-peduncle depth
2.2 (2.1–2.5) in HL; caudal-peduncle length 2.1 (1.9–2.45) in HL.
Mouth terminal and oblique, forming angle of approx. 25° to horizontal axis of body; mouth small, maxilla
extending just posterior to a vertical through anterior nostril, upper-jaw length 3.85 (4.0–4.7) in HL; dentition
typical of genus, three pairs of canine teeth anteriorly at side of upper jaw, anterior pair forward projecting, next
two pairs increasing in length and more recurved and laterally projecting; upper jaw with closely set, small, conical
teeth (15 in holotype posterior to third canine); lower jaw with single pair of forward and laterally projecting
canines and closely set, small, conical teeth (20 in holotype). Tongue short and rounded. Gill rakers short, longest
on rst gill arch less than one-half length of longest gill laments.
Posterior margin of preopercle with 38 small serrae (33–42, rst 3 paratypes); edge of preopercle free
from behind center of eye to below anterior edge of pupil; lower margin of the preopercle rounded, thin, and
Posterior nostril subtriangular with a short rim, located just below upper-eye level and just anterior to front
edge of eye; anterior nostril a very short membranous tube, slightly higher posteriorly, located anteroventral to
posterior nostril, diameter about equal to sensory pores of cephalic lateralis system. Suborbital pores from middle
of eye to below front edge of eye 12 (10–12); pores along free edge of preopercle 8; pores on mandible to front
of chin 4.
Scales cycloid; head scaled except interorbital space, snout, and chin; opercle covered by 7 large scales; cheek
with two horizontal rows of scales below eye; naked lower ange of preopercle thin, greatest width at angle about
2.5 in orbit diameter in holotype; base of dorsal and anal ns with a single row of large elongated scales, one per
membrane; last pored scale on lateral line at base of caudal n enlarged and pointed; terminal scale on midline
just posterior to last pored scale very enlarged and pointed; no scales on paired ns; pelvic ns with a median
ventral process of two elongate scales about three-fourths length of pelvic-n spine, thin axillary scale of each
pelvic n about three-fourths the length of pelvic-n spine.
Origin of dorsal n above third lateral-line scale; predorsal distance 3.3 (2.65–3.2) in SL; rst dorsal-n spine
short 3.85 (3.4–4.45) in head length; other dorsal-n spines subequal, the longest 2.3 (2.2–2.75) in head length;
interspinous membranes of dorsal n extending well above spine tips in males; rst soft dorsal-n ray longest
1.9 (2.0–2.6) in head length; origin of anal n vertically below last dorsal-n spine; preanal length 1.6 (1.6–1.7)
Figure 2. Cirrhilabrus efatensis, fresh TP male paratype, ZRC 55599, 43.4 mm SL, Éfaté Island, Vanuatu (Y.K. Tea).
in SL; rst anal-n spine 4.2 (4.45–5.45) in HL; second anal-n spine 3.55 (3.3–4.05) in HL; third anal-n spine
2.8 (2.8–3.45) in HL; seventh or eighth anal soft rays longest, 2.0 (2.15–2.85) in H:; caudal n 3.55 (3.2–4.0)
in SL, rounded in females; caudal n of males strongly double emarginate, caudal n slightly concave in males
19.0 (8.5–10.45) in head length; third pectoral-n ray 1.4 (1.4–1.65); pelvic n short, extending just beyond anus,
longer in males than females, second ray longest 1.6 (1.5–2.25) in HL, 4.75 (4.55–6.1) in SL.
Color in life. (Figs. 1–4, 7A1, 7A2 & 9A) TP males with head and body bright red dorsoanteriorly, extending
ventrally to about three-quarters of body depth and just below eye; pale yellow ventrally; nape dusky; posterior
body yellow-orange, anterior abruptly red mid-dorsally, scales along posterior dorsum with a single red spot
centrally, a thin red stripe along the lateral line; iris bright red; dorsal n red with an irregular broad, black, outer
margin, more pronounced on soft portion, a narrow translucent-to-violet outer margin, a few small violet blue
blotches centrally on spinous-n membrane, rst and second dorsal-n spines and interspinous membranes black;
caudal n red, with faint violet-blue blotches, outer margin black with a blue submarginal band; anal n yellow,
outer margin blue, bordered on inner edge with a narrow, red, submarginal line; pelvic ns translucent yellow;
pectoral ns transparent. Females yellowish orange, pale yellow ventrally; body with a series of 4 or 5 thin stripes
dorsally, usually threaded with small white spots; nape with a series of ne white lines; dorsal n translucent red,
rst and second dorsal-n spines and interspinous membrane black; caudal n translucent red; anal n translucent
yellow; pelvic ns translucent; pectoral ns transparent.
Color in alcohol. Black markings on nape and ns remain; red and orange color becomes pale yellowish to
tan; yellow color becomes paler yellowish.
Etymology. The specic epithet refers to Éfaté Island in central Vanuatu, the type location of the species. The
vernacular name of “Hooded Fairy Wrasse” is suggested for its unique “hooded” appearance, brought upon by the
strongly contrasting head and body coloration.
Distribution and habitat. Cirrhilabrus efatensis is currently known only from Éfaté Island and Espiritu
Santo in central and northern Vanuatu. The new species is found in depths between 30–60 m, above gently sloping
bottoms with scattered low outcrops of rocks and rubble.
Figure 3. Cirrhilabrus efatensis, fresh TP male, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu (specimen not retained)(B.D. Greene).
Proportional measurements of selected type specimens of Cirrhilabrus efatensis, n. sp.
as percentages of the standard length
holotype paratypes
Sex male male female female male male
Standard length (mm) 69.4 60.0 43.9 42.7 43.4 48.9
Body depth 32.6 30.8 32.8 34.2 27.2 29.4
Body width 14.7 14.7 12.8 13.1 13.6 15.1
Head length 33.1 32.7 35.1 39.8 31.3 32.1
Snout length 8.6 8.0 9.1 9.8 8.5 8.4
Orbit diameter 8.6 8.5 10.0 10.3 9.7 9.2
Interorbital width 8.4 8.7 8.2 8.4 7.1 7.2
Upper-jaw length 8.6 8.2 8.7 8.4 7.8 7.6
Caudal-peduncle depth 15.0 15.0 14.8 15.9 13.8 15.1
Caudal-peduncle length 15.9 15.0 14.6 16.4 16.4 14.1
Predorsal length 30.3 31.3 34.2 37.5 33.9 31.3
Preanal length 62.7 60.0 62.9 62.8 59.9 59.3
Prepelvic length 36.0 34.3 35.3 37.0 35.9 36.2
Dorsal-n base 61.1 60.0 55.6 58.1 57.8 60.5
First dorsal-n spine 8.6 8.8 9.1 8.9 9.2 7.6
Longest dorsal-n spine 14.4 14.8 14.6 14.5 13.6 12.7
Longest dorsal-n ray 17.4 16.2 13.7 15.5 14.7 14.7
Anal-n base damaged 26.0 25.1 26.7 26.3 27.8
First anal-n spine 7.9 6.0 7.7 8.9 6.7 6.1
Second anal-n spine 9.4 8.7 9.1 9.8 9.4 8.4
Third anal-n spine 11.8 11.7 11.2 11.5 9.7 9.6
Longest anal-n ray 16.6 15.2 14.6 15.5 11.1 13.7
Caudal-n length 28.2 26.7 30.1 31.4 28.6 25.2
Caudal-n concavity 1.7 - - - 3.7 3.1
Pectoral-n length 23.9 23.3 22.8 25.3 19.1 19.8
Pelvic-n spine length 11.5 11.7 11.8 12.2 11.5 11.2
Pelvic-n length 21.0 22.0 16.4 17.8 20.3 19.4
Figure 4. Cirrhilabrus efatensis, TP male and female, approx. 90 mm and 60 mm TL respectively, aquarium specimens from
Éfaté Island, Vanuatu (image reversed, specimens not retained)(K. Kohen).
Comparisons. Cirrhilabrus efatensis is, at present, one of three species forming a closely related species
complex with allopatric distributions centered largely within northeastern Australia and Melanesia (Fig. 5). The
complex comprises C. bathyphilus (Fig. 6) from the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia and southern
Vanuatu; and C. nahackyi (Fig. 7C1) from Fiji and Tonga. Despite the close proximity of C. efatensis and C.
Figure 5. Distribution map showing locality records for members of the Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus species complex.
Figure 6. Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus, TP male holotype, AMS I.41103-001, 48.7 mm SL, Coral Sea, Holmes Reef (F. Walsh).
bathyphilus in Vanuatu, the two species have not been documented to occur together at any one location, with
C. bathyphilus replacing C. efatensis in the southernmost portion of the archipelago. Examples of allopatric
species of Cirrhilabrus with a similar pattern of marginally close distribution ranges have been demonstrated
in C. morrisoni, C. humanni, and C. hygroxerus (Allen & Hammer 2016), as well as C. marinda and C. condei
(Allen, Erdmann & Dailami 2015), some referred to by Victor (2016) as microendemics.
Another species, Cirrhilabrus marjorie Allen, Randall & Carlson, 2003, has been proposed to be part of
this species complex. In the original description of C. bathyphilus, Randall & Nagarada (2002) discussed an
undescribed Cirrhilabrus species from Vanua Levu, Fiji and suggested that it was probably closely related to C.
bathyphilus based on color patterns and caudal-n shape. Allen, Randall & Carlson (2003) noted some signicant
differences between C. marjorie and C. bathyphilus, e.g. in gill-raker count (18–19 for C. marjorie vs. 13–15 for
C. bathyphilus), caudal-n shape, dorsal- and caudal-n color patterns, as well as habitat and depth preferences.
As a result, they proposed C. marjorie may be a member of the C. exquisitus species complex, particularly on the
basis of its double-emarginate caudal n. However, Tea, Senou & Greene (2016) demonstrated the unreliability
of caudal-n shapes for inferring taxonomic relationships in Cirrhilabrus, noting unrelated species that share
shapes and closely related species that differ greatly in caudal-n shape. While no comparative morphological or
genetic studies have been conducted for C. marjorie at present, we believe it is more likely allied instead to C.
walindi Allen & Randall, 1996 from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and C. cenderawasih Allen &
Erdmann, 2006 from Indonesia.
The TP males of the C. bathyphilus species complex share a set of characteristic markings (Fig. 7), in particular,
having black anteriormost dorsal-n spines and membranes. TP males often have fuliginous napes, and, with the
exception of C. nahackyi, possess very strong, double-emarginate caudal ns, edged in black. In C. nahackyi, the
rst and second dorsal-n spines are elongated, forming a short pennant; this feature is absent in C. efatensis and
C. bathyphilus. Cirrhilabrus efatensis can be readily separated from C. bathyphilus by color pattern. In the rather
variable C. bathyphilus, the red anterior body fades gradually into the posterior orange body, either as a gradual
suffusion, or as a linear streak (Fig. 8). This suffusion is absent in C. efatensis; instead, C. efatensis has the two
color tones delimited abruptly mid-dorsally.
Figure 7. Live color patterns in Cirrhilabrus species (TP males in A1-C1, initial phase in A2-C2) A: C. efatensis (A1=
paratype, USNM 387559, male, 60.0 mm SL; A2 = paratype, QM I.38235, female, 43.9 mm SL) B: C. bathyphilus (B1=
QM I.38236, male, 67.5 mm SL; B2 = aquarium specimen, Tanna Island, Vanuatu) C: C. nahackyi (C1 = paratype, QM.
I.38241, male, 65.0 mm SL, Tongatapu, Tonga; C2 = paratype, QM. I.38242, female, 31.8 mm SL, Bega Lagoon, Fiji)(A1,
A2, B1, C2 by F. Walsh; B2 by P. Schmeidel; C1 by H. Tanaka).
All three species possess a black dorsal-n band in TP males. In C. nahackyi, this band is restricted to the
anterior soft portion of the n; in C. efatensis and C. bathyphilus, the black dorsal-n band appears highly variable,
ranging from almost completely absent to a prominent broad band, extending the full length of the n (Fig. 8).
The three species in this complex also share similarities in the coloration during nuptial displays, specically,
the lightening and iridescence of the dorsum, turning bright lilac at the height of excitation. In C. efatensis, this is
restricted to only the posterior body, while the dorsal and caudal ns intensify to deep red with a bright magenta
wash (Fig. 9A). The lilac shading during the nuptial display is present in C. bathyphilus along the entire dorsum
(Fig. 9B), though less extensive in its intensity as compared to C. efatensis. The lilac display coloration is most
extensive, but also less vibrant, in C. nahackyi, obscuring nearly the entire body except the head (Fig. 9C).
All three species in this complex share very similar meristic and morphometric data. Slight differences may
exist (but counts measurements are by different observers), i.e. C. efatensis with a gill raker count of 14–16 vs.
13–15 in C. bathyphilus and 14–15 in C. nahackyi. Snout lengths apparently differ slightly, with C. efatensis with
8.0–9.7% SL, vs. 8.7–10.3% SL in C. bathyphilus and 8.3–9.2% SL in C. nahackyi.
The mtDNA barcode marker COI is often used to assess whether populations are genetically isolated from
Figure 8. Variability in Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus TP males. Note variability in the red anterior body coloration, appearing
as either a suffused wash (A, B), or a somewhat more distinct streak (C, D), but never abruptly delimited as in C. efatensis.
Arrows highlight variability in the black markings on the dorsal-n margin (A: E. Fleishauer; B & C: F. Walsh; D: H. Tanaka).
relatives and to quantify the genetic divergence between species: among coral-reef shes, species have been found
to typically diverge more than 2% from their closest relatives (Ward, Hanner & Hebert 2009), but with many
exceptions. Very close, or even shared, mtDNA lineages occur frequently among species complexes of labrids with
particularly colorful mating displays, and may represent recent radiations where there has been insufcient time
to accumulate and x mutations among populations or where there is some hybridization preventing divergence
in mtDNA lineages (Victor 2015). The COI sequence for C. efatensis is the same as the sequence for C. nahackyi
and C. bathyphilus (GenBank accession number KX037921), making this species complex another example of
shared mtDNA haplotypes between closely related species in Cirrhilabrus.
Other material examined. Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus: AMS I.41103-001 (holotype), male, 48.7 mm SL, Holmes
Reef, Coral Sea, Australia; QM I.38236, male, 67.5 mm SL, Tanna Island, Vanuatu; QM I.38236, female, 37.8
mm SL, Tanna Island, Vanuatu; USNM 387560 male, 68.0 mm SL, Tanna Island, Vanuatu.
Cirrhilabrus nahackyi: QM I.38421 (holotype), male, 55.6 mm SL, Bega Lagoon, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands; QM
I.38242 (paratype), female, 31.8 mm SL, Bega Lagoon, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands.
We would especially like to thank Larry Sharon for providing four of the type specimens and his assistance
with collection and habitat information. Sincerest thanks are also given to Ohm Pavaphon for the preparation and
donation of two paratypes used in the description. A word of gratitude goes out to Kelvin Lim of the National
University of Singapore and the Lee Kong Chien Natural History Museum, as well as Mark McGrouther of the
Australian Museum, Jeff Johnson of the Queensland Museum, and Mark Allen of the Western Australian Museum
for curatorial assistance. Many thanks to Benjamin Victor for provision of the genetic comparison data and John
Randall and Anthony Gill for assisting us greatly with their knowledge and encouragement. Thanks also to Brian
Greene for information and the specimen image from Espiritu Santo, and Kevin Kohen and Kiyoshi Endoh for
Figure 9. Nuptial displays in Cirrhilabrus TP males A: C. efatensis, Éfaté Island, Vanuatu; B: C. bathyphilus, Coral Sea,
Australia; C: C. nahackyi, Tonga (but note the absence of the usual dorsal-n pennant here, otherwise present in TP males of
this species). (A & B: Y.K. Tea; C: K. Endoh).
providing their high-quality aquarium photographs, as well as to Christopher Buerner and Adam Mangino of
Quality Marine of Los Angeles, CA for specimens of C. nahackyi. The DNA barcoding was performed at the
Biodiversity Institute of Ontario with the support of Robert Hanner and the team at BOLD. DNA barcoding was
supported by the International Barcode of Life Project ( with funding from the Government of Canada
via the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding, as well as from the Ontario Genomics Institute (2008-OGI-ICI-03),
Genome Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, and the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada. The manuscript was reviewed by two anonymous reviewers.We would
like to dedicate this paper, in part, to Grant Norton and Christopher Dumaran for their tireless dedication in diving
the reefs of Vanuatu, and for their invaluable information for the habitat and distribution of the new species.
Allen, G.R., Drew, J. & Barber, P. (2008) Cirrhilabrus beauperryi, a new wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from Melanesia.
Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, 14 (3), 129–140.
Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. (2006) Cirrhilabrus cenderawasih, a new wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from Papua,
Indonesia. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, 11 (3), 89–96.
Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V. & Dailami, M. (2015) Cirrhilabrus marinda, a new species of wrasse (Pisces:
Labridae) from eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation,
15, 1–13.
Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V. & Yusmalinda, N.L.A. (2016) Review of the Indo-Pacic Flasherwrasses of the
genus Paracheilinus (Perciformes: Labridae), with descriptions of three new species. Journal of the Ocean
Science Foundation, 19, 18–90.
Allen, G.R. & Hammer, M.P. (2016) Cirrhilabrus hygroxerus, a new species of fairy wrasse (Pisces: Labridae)
from the Timor Sea, northern Australia. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 22, 42–52. http://dx.doi.
Allen, G.R. & Randall, J.E. (1996) Three new species of wrasses (Labridae: Cirrhilabrus) from Papua New
Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Revue française d’aquariologie herpétologie, 23 (3–4), 101–111.
Allen, G.R., Randall, J.E. & Carlson, B.A. (2003) Cirrhilabrus marjorie, a new wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from
Fiji. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, 7 (3), 113–118.
Barber, P.H. & Bellwood, D.R. (2005) Biodiversity hotspots: evolutionary origins of biodiversity in wrasses
(Halichoeres: Labridae) in the Indo-Pacic and new world tropics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution,
35 (1), 235–253.
Kuiter, R.H. (2010) Labridae Fishes: Wrasses, First Edition. Aquatic Photographics, Seaford, Australia, 390 pp.
Randall, J.E. & Kuiter, R.H. (1989) Cirrhilabrus punctatus, a new species of labrid sh from the southwestern
Pacic. Revue française d’aquariologie herpétologie, 16 (2), 43–50.
Randall, J.E. & Nagareda, B. (2002) Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus, a new deep-dwelling labrid sh from the Coral
Sea. Cybium, 26 (2), 123–127.
Tea, Y.K., Senou, H. & Greene, B.D. (2016) Cirrhilabrus isosceles, a new species of wrasse (Teleostei: Labridae)
from the Ryukyu Archipelago and the Philippines, with notes on the C. lunatus complex. Journal of the Ocean
Science Foundation, 21, 18–37.
Victor, B.C. (2015) How many coral reef sh species are there? Cryptic diversity and the new molecular
taxonomy. In: Mora, C. (Ed.), Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,
United Kingdom, pp. 76–87.
Victor, B.C. (2016) Two new species in the spike-n fairy-wrasse species complex (Teleostei: Labridae:
Cirrhilabrus) from the Indian Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 23, 21–50. http://dx.doi.
Walsh, F. & Tanaka, H. (2011) Cirrhilabrus nahackyi, a new species (Perciformes; Labridae) from the South
Pacic. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, 18 (1), 1–8.
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... Although a comprehensive taxonomic treatment of the genus is lacking, systematic studies have been done in parts. These include diagnoses of species complexes (see Tea et al. 2016;Walsh et al. 2017;Tea & Gill 2017;Tea et al. 2018;Tea et al. 2020), taxonomic revisions (Victor 2016;Tea et al. 2021a), and molecular phylogenomic studies (Tea et al. 2021b). The need for a generic revision of Cirrhilabrus is made clear by the rapidly growing body of literature in recent years, with the number of valid species now exceeding that of any other labrid genus. ...
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Conniella apterygia is redescribed from re-examination of the holotype, two paratypes, and six additional specimens. The genus is closely allied to Cirrhilabrus, sharing similarities in general morphological and meristic details, but is separated from Cirrhilabrus and most other labrid fishes in lacking pelvic fins and a pelvic girdle. Recent molecular phylogenetic studies have provided strong evidence for the deep nesting of Conniella within Cirrhilabrus, contradicting its generic validity and suggesting that the loss of pelvic elements is autapomorphic. Consequently, the species is redescribed and assigned to the genus Cirrhilabrus, as Cirrhilabrus apterygia new combination. The pelvic morphologies of related cirrhilabrin labrids are discussed, and a new synapomorphy is identified for Paracheilinus.
... This pronounced sexual dimorphism is particularly evident during courtship, during which the males engage in brilliant displays, signaling to receptive females and rival males with species-specific coloration patterns and exaggerated fin movements. Often, these coloration patterns are so specific and consistent that they serve as the only reliable means of differentiating congeneric species (Victor and Randall, 2014;Walsh et al., 2017). This scenario of sexual selection driving speciation is conspicuously demonstrated in the C. cyanopleura complex, which comprises at least eight valid species (not including potentially undescribed taxa), where they variously exhibit sympatric, parapatric, and allopatric distributions (Fig. 7). ...
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The labrid fish Cirrhilabrus solorensis was first described in 1853 by Bleeker, based on specimens collected from the Indonesian island of Solor, off the eastern tip of Flores in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Although sufficient at the time, Bleeker’s description of the species was brief, resulting in subsequent taxonomic confusion concerning the true identity of this taxon. Presently, the name has been applied to several fishes with notable differences in coloration, particularly in the terminal males. On the basis of additional non-type material and photographic examination of Bleeker’s holotype, we redescribe Cirrhilabrus solorensis and resolve the long-standing contention regarding its taxonomic identity. In doing so, we describe two species as new, Cirrhilabrus aquamarinus, new species, on the basis of the holotype and eight paratypes from Sulawesi and the surrounding islands of Banggai and Wakatobi, Indonesia, and Cirrhilabrus chaliasi, new species, described on the basis of the holotype and nine paratypes from Bali, Indonesia. These three species are closely related and, together with C. aurantidorsalis, C. cyanopleura, C. luteovittatus, C. randalli, and C. ryukyuensis, form a complex of species that differ from congeners in having the following combination of characters: caudal fin in males weakly rhomboidal; median fins hyaline with sinuous filigree in both sexes; body with scales edged in inky blue to indigo, their margins often patterned in an argyle motif; and osseus elements that preserve blue to blue-green in alcohol. We briefly discuss the phylogenetic relationships of species in this complex based on results of a companion study detailed elsewhere.
... Some nominal species with widespread distributions exhibit considerable variation in color patterns throughout their range, raising the question of whether they are truly widespread or are a complex of morphologically similar cryptic species (Gill and Kemp, 2002;Tea et al., 2019a;Tea and Gill, 2020). Closer evaluation of these species has often revealed hidden diversity, leading to the recognition of allopatric species (Victor, 2017;Walsh et al., 2017;Tea and Gill, 2020). In the species description of Pseudojuloides elongatus, Ayling and Russell (1977) included specimens from New Zealand (type locality), eastern Australia, Western Australia, and southern Japan. ...
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The anti-equatorial labrid Pseudojuloides elongatus has a wide but disjunct distribution across the Western Pacific and Eastern Indian Oceans, with populations occurring in Western Australia, southern Japan, and the southwest Pacific Ocean. Principal component analysis of morphological characters and coalescent-based species-tree estimates of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers suggest that these populations are under incipient stages of divergence. The three allopatric populations differ strongly in coloration patterns of both sexes, particularly in terminal males, suggestive of reproductive isolation. We redescribe Pseudojuloides elongatus on the basis of nine paratypes and two additional specimens from eastern Australia and Norfolk Island, and describe two new species, Pseudojuloides crux, new species, from Western Australia, and P. paradiseus, new species, from southern Japan. The complex is distinguished from other members of the genus in sharing the following combination of characters: body elongate; dorsal-fin rays IX,12; pectoral-fin rays 12; no median predorsal scales; and usually 27 lateral-line scales. We briefly comment on anti- equatorial biogeographical patterns and Pseudojuloides argyreogaster from the Western Indian Ocean.
... T HE labrid fish genus Cirrhilabrus consists of small, colorful, and planktivorous fishes found mostly on low complexity rubble slopes adjacent to coral reefs. The genus is one of the most diverse amongst the Labridae, with new species discovered regularly as a result of increased exploration of mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30-150 m depth; Hinderstein et al., 2010;Rocha et al., 2018;Loya et al., 2019) and close scrutiny of putative cryptic populations using molecular sequencing techniques (Victor, 2016;Walsh et al., 2017). Allen et al. (2015) listed 51 valid species in the genus, and an additional nine species have been described since (see Tea et al., 2019), bringing the valid species count to 60. ...
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The new species, Cirrhilabrus briangreenei, is described on the basis of the holotype and six paratypes collected from mesophotic coral ecosystems of the Verde Island Passage, Philippines, between depths of 82 and 110 m. The new species is most closely related to Cirrhilabrus pylei, but it differs primarily in the presence of: more pored scales on the posterior lateral line (7–9 vs. 5–6); a lower number of circumpeduncular scales (14 vs. 16); a lower number of gill rakers (16–17 vs. 18–20); and differences in coloration details of the dorsal and caudal fins. Both species differ from all other congeners in sharing the following combination of characters: pelvic fins very long (56.5–70.0% SL), often extending past anal-fin terminus in males; caudal fin scintillating and iridescent in males; dorsal fin with sinuous scribbling in both sexes; anterior dorsal fin with a metallic blue spot on first one to two interspinous membrane spaces; snout with three parallel stripes from maxilla to anterior edge of orbit; and rest of head with a network of short broken pinstripes in both sexes. These characters are also distributed in part amongst other species of Cirrhilabrus, in particular, C. katoi, C. lineatus, C. rhomboidalis, and C. rubrimarginatus, and their putative relationships are discussed on the basis of meristic, morphometric, and molecular sequence data. We briefly comment on the variability of morphological characters within Cirrhilabrus and their implications towards phylogenetic classification, with remarks on methods for data collection for species of Cirrhilabrus.
... Since the late 1980s, over 70 new fish species have been described from specimens collected on MCEs (see Fig. 40.2 and figures in Pyle (2019b) and ). Of these, at least 22 new fish species have been described in the past few years alone (e.g., Copus et al. 2015a, b;Stiller et al. 2015;Anderson et al. 2016;Baldwin et al. 2016;Carvalho-Filho et al. 2016;Pyle and Kosaki 2016;Pyle et al. 2016b;Tea et al. 2016;Tornabene et al. 2016b;Anderson and Johnson 2017;Conway et al. 2017;Gill et al. 2017;Hastings and Conway 2017;Krishna et al. 2017;Motomura et al. 2017;Prokofiev 2017;Rocha et al. 2017;Tornabene and Baldwin 2017;Walsh et al. 2017;Winterbottom 2017). Moreover, dozens of fish species discovered on MCEs are awaiting formal description (R.L. Pyle, unpubl. ...
Fishes are an important component of coral reef ecosystems, and in comparison to other marine phyla, the taxonomy of fishes is relatively robust. Some of the earliest explorations of mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) involving both submersibles and rebreather diving focused on fishes. Since 1968, over 400 publications have documented fishes on MCEs, ~75% of which were published since 2011. Most fish species inhabiting MCEs belong to families and genera typical of shallow coral reefs, and many new species remain to be discovered and described. Species richness generally peaks at a depth of 30 m and declines with increasing depth. The composition of the fish communities on MCEs includes a mixture of species restricted to MCEs and species with broad depth ranges. Patterns of species turnover and composition vary depending on geographic location, ecological characteristics, and method of study. Nearly 70% of MCE fish research has occurred within the tropical western Atlantic and Hawaiʻi. Not enough is known about global distributions to infer broad biogeographical patterns, but there seems to be higher representation by endemic species and individuals on MCEs, and the eastward attenuation of diversity of shallow Pacific reefs does not appear to apply to fishes within MCEs. Analyses of nearly 900,000 occurrence records of reef fishes at depths of 1–200 m reveal patterns of diversity that are mostly consistent with controlled studies. Future work should emphasize basic exploration and documentation of diversity in under-sampled geographic regions and hypothesis-driven studies in areas where logistics facilitate MCE research.
... , b;Baldwin and Weigt 2012;Sparks and Gruber 2012;Walsh and Tanaka 2012;Carvalho- Filho and Ferreira 2013;Pyle and Earle 2013; Robertson 2014, 2015;Fukui and Motomura 2014; Copus et al. 2015a, b;Stiller et al. 2015;Anderson et al. 2016; Baldwin et al. 2016a, b;Carvalho-Filho et al. 2016;Pyle and Kosaki 2016;Sinniger et al. 2016;Tea et al. 2016;Tornabene et al. 2016b;Anderson and Johnson 2017;Conway et al. 2017;Easton et al. 2017Easton et al. , 2018Easton et al. , 2019Hastings and Conway 2017;Motomura et al. 2017;Prokofiev 2017;Rocha et al. 2017;Tornabene and Baldwin 2017;Walsh et al. 2017;Winterbottom 2017; Montgomery et al. 2019), algae (Norris and Olsen 1991;Ballantine and Norris 1994; Aponte 1996, 2002; Ruiz 2010, 2011;Athanasiadis et al. 2013;Tsuda et al. 2015;Spalding et al. 2016Spalding et al. , 2019a, anthozoans(Vermeij et al. 2003;Tu et al. 2012; Guzman 2013, 2016;Randall 2015;Kise and Reimer 2016;Samimi-Namin et al. 2016;Benayahu et al. 2017Benayahu et al. , 2019Rowley et al. 2019), other invertebrate groups ...
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Although the existence of zooxanthellate corals in mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; light-dependent coral ecosystems from 30 to 150 m in depth) has been known since the nineteenth century and focused scientific exploration of MCEs began over 50 years ago, more than 70% of all research on MCEs has been published only within the past seven years. MCEs represent approximately 80% of potential coral reef habitat worldwide, yet very little is known about them in comparison to shallow reefs. Many MCE species new to science have been discovered in the past decade, and many more await discovery. The term MCEs has been widely adopted by the scientific community since its 2008 inception; however, there is considerable inconsistency in how it is subdivided into “upper” and “lower” (and sometimes “middle”) zones. Moreover, doing so may lead to artificial boundaries when habitats and ecological communities at different depth zones may blend together. Growing evidence suggests that MCEs harbor proportionally more geographically endemic species than their shallow-water counterparts, and initial indications are that major biogeographic patterns described for shallow reef organisms may not apply to MCEs. Although MCEs may serve as refugia for some shallow species, they are increasingly recognized as unique ecosystems, important in their own right. Future research on MCEs should aim to address gaps in our understanding of the basic physical and biological characteristics of MCEs including geography, taxonomic composition, depth distribution, ecology, physiology, and connectivity. Improving knowledge of MCEs would benefit from combining different technologies to leverage the strengths of each.
... Allen et al. (2015) listed 51 valid species in the genus. Seven other species have subsequently been described: Cirrhilabrus isosceles Tea et al. (2016), C. hygroxerus Allen & Hammer (2016), C. rubeus Victor (2016), C. africanus Victor (2016), C. efatensis Walsh et al. (2017), C. shutmani Tea & Gill (2017) and C. greeni Allen & Hammer (2017) bringing the valid species count to 58. Klausewitz (1976) erected the genus Cirrhilabrichthys to accommodate the placement of his new species, C. filamentosus. ...
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Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis, sp. nov., is described on the basis of the holotype and three paratypes from Banguingui Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines, and a paratype from Sulawesi, Indonesia. The new species belongs to a complex consisting of C. filamentosus (Klausewitz), C. rubripinnis Randall & Carpenter, and C. tonozukai Allen & Kuiter. Aside from similar nuptial male coloration, the four species share the following character combination: a single row of cheek scales; dorsal-fin spines taller than dorsal-fin rays (slightly incised between spinuous and soft dorsal fin in C. rubripinnis and C. cyanogularis; last three dorsal-fin spines converging to form a single filament in C. tonozukai and C. filamentosus); relatively long pelvic fins (reaching past anal-fin origin); and isthmus and breast blue. The new species differs from the other members of the complex in lacking a dorsal filament, as well as possessing six predorsal scales, more extensive blue coloration on the isthmus, lower head and breast, and a soft dorsal fin with narrow black, medial stripe. The status of Klausewitz’s Cirrhilabrichthys is briefly discussed.
... These species all have complex patterns based on reddish or orange color dorsally and often pale ventrally on both the head and body, but, notably, all of these allied species can be distinguished by having rounded caudal fins vs. the emarginate and lunate-appearing caudal fin of the new species. Several other species complexes of Cirrhilabrus have members that share mtDNA haplotypes, despite having quite different male-display color patterns (Allen et al. 2015, Allen & Hammer 2016, Tea et al. 2016, Victor 2016, Walsh et al. 2017) and, in one case, also caudal-fin shapes (Tea et al. 2016). These "phenovariant" species likely represent recent radiations of sibling species that either have not had sufficient time to accumulate neutral mutations in the relevant genetic marker, or share mtDNA due to historic or occasional hybridization, or both (Victor 2015). ...
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A new species of labrid fish, the Sunset Fairy-wrasse, Cirrhilabrus greeni n. sp., is described from seven specimens, 39.4-47.3 mm SL, collected from the eastern Timor Sea, Northern Territory, Australia. The species is clearly distinguished by its terminal-phase male color pattern, consisting of pink to reddish hues on the upper half of the head and body and yellow on the lower half, in combination with a mainly yellow-orange dorsal fin and a scarlet-red anal fin. The caudal fin of the male is particularly distinctive, being emarginate but appearing lunate due to a clear central portion and tapering red bands along dorsal and ventral margins. Females can be distinguished from sympatric congeners by having a large black spot on the upper caudal peduncle. Sequencing of the mtDNA-barcode marker COI reveals that the new species has identical sequences to C. rubripinnis and C. aff. tonozukai from the Philippines, which have very different color patterns and tail shapes from the new species, indicating the new species has diverged recently and/or there is historic or episodic hybridization within the species complex.
... Allen et al. (2015) listed 51 nominal species in the genus. Five other species have been described since: Cirrhilabrus isosceles Tea et al. (2016), C. hygroxerus Allen & Hammer (2016), C. rubeus Victor (2016), C. africanus Victor (2016), and C. efatensis Walsh et al. (2017), bringing the current nominal species count to 56. Increased deepwater exploration and aquarium fish collection has allowed for the discovery of several new species, as well as the expansion of previously documented geographical distributions of various species. ...
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Cirrhilabrus shutmani, new species, is described on the basis of four specimens from Didicas Volcano, Babuyan Islands, Cagayan province, northern Philippines. The holotype and three paratypes were collected at a depth of 50-70 m, along denuded rubble slopes. The new species belong to a complex consisting of C. blatteus, C. claire, C. earlei, C. jordani, C. lanceolatus, C. roseafascia, C. rubrisquamis and C. sanguineus. Aside from similar nuptial male colouration, the nine species share the following character combination: relatively short pelvic fins (not or barely reaching anal-fin origin, except for C. claire with relatively long pelvic fins); a pair of stripes on head (in both sexes); and, dorsal and anal fins without obvious stripes or spots. It differs from the other members of its group in lacking any stripes on the upper and lower body, and in having the following live colouration details: upper part of nape dusky red; dorsal and anal fin bright red with dusky markings; pelvic fins bright red, dusky anteriorly; caudal fin bright yellow basally with distal half bright red. We also present new distribution records for C. claire, C. earlei and C. lanceolatus, as well as a brief mention of a possibly new, related species from the Ogasawara Islands.
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Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov. is described on the basis of the holotype and four paratypes collected between 50 and 80m depth over low-complexity reef and rubble bottoms at the east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa. The new species belongs to a group of fairy wrasses from the western Indian Ocean, sharing a combination of characters that include: short pelvic fins (not or barely reaching anal-fin origin); relatively unmarked dorsal and anal fins; males with a strongly lanceolate caudal fin (except in C. rubrisquamis); both sexes with a pair of prominent facial stripes above and below the orbit; and both sexes with prominent purple scales and osseus elements that persist, and stain purple, respectively, even in preservation. This group of fairy wrasse is part of a larger complex that includes related species from the western Pacific Ocean. In addition to meristic and morphometric comparisons, we also compare mitochondrial DNA sequence data to the aforementioned, putatively related species.
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The western and central Indian Ocean population of the fairy wrasse, Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis, is here split into three allopatric species: the type species from the Red Sea; C. rubeus, n. sp., a new central Indian Ocean species from Sri Lanka and the Maldives; and C. africanus n. sp., a new east African coastal species. The three species are mainly differentiated by the color patterns of terminal-phase (TP) males. The two new species diverge from C. rubriventralis in the sequence of the barcode-mtDNA COI marker by 2.6% and 0.5%, respectively (pairwise distance; 2.7% and 0.5% K2P distance). The Indian Ocean species complex made up of the 8 spike-fin species allied with C. rubriventralis is now one of the larger species complexes among labrid reef fishes, showing an interesting pattern of allopatric sibling species dividing up the region, as well as the occurrence of localized microendemic species in Indonesia and the Timor Sea. The species complex includes some species that share mtDNA lineages (phenovariant species), as well as others up to 2.9% divergent in sequence. A neighbor-joining tree and genetic distance matrix is presented for 7 of the 8 known species in the complex. Citation: Victor, B.C. (2016) Two new species in the spike-fin fairy-wrasse species complex (Teleostei: Labridae: Cirrhilabrus) from the Indian Ocean.
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A new species of labrid, Cirrhilabrus marinda, is described from 29 type specimens, 17.4–45.9 mm SL, collected at Ayau Atoll, West Papua Province, Indonesia and 7 non-type specimens, 32.0–67.0 mm SL, from Halmahera, Indonesia and the vicinity of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu. The new taxon is closely related to Cirrhilabrus condei of Indonesia (West Papua), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Coral Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, mainly differing in the shape and colouration of the male dorsal fin. The spinous dorsal fin of C. marinda is mostly black and noticeably taller than the soft portion in comparison with C. condei, which has a more uniform fin profile with black colouration restricted to the outer fin margin. The population of C. marinda from Ayau Atoll differs from conspecific populations in other regions and from C. condei in having an exceptionally small maximum size of approximately 46 mm SL, with mature females as small as 30.4 mm SL. The two species are broadly sympatric, but do not share the same habitat; C. marinda prefer deeper offshore sand habitats. The barcode (COI) mitochondrial DNA sequences of the new species are the same as C. condei, apparently a case of phenotypic divergence outpacing changes in mitochondrial genotype. As in other reported cases of this phenomenon, the phenotypic differences are in the male mating display, which would be expected in the early stages of species divergence.
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A new species of labrid fish, Cirrhilabrus hygroxerus, is described from 19 type specimens, 38.4–56.1 mm SL, collected from the eastern Timor Sea, Northern Territory, Australia. The new taxon belongs to a species complex containing five other Indo-Pacific species, comprising C. humanni (western Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia and East Timor), C. joanallenae (western Sumatra), C. morrisoni (Hibernia Reef, western Timor Sea), C. naokoae (Nias Island, western Sumatra), and the widespread C. rubriventralis (Red Sea, western Indian Ocean, Maldives, and Sri Lanka). Members of this complex typically have a single row of scales on the cheek and share the unique combination in the terminal-phase (TP) male of an elevated anterior dorsal fin, rounded caudal fin, and large fan or club-shaped pelvic fins without filamentous extensions. The new species is most similar to C. humanni and C. morrisoni, and the three species have apparently allopatric distributions in the Timor Sea-western Sunda Islands region. These three species share a uniquely shaped dorsal fin characterized by the presence of an anterior elevated, spike-like pennant. The best means of separating these species are differences in the color patterns of the TP male, primarily on the head, upper body, and on the dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins. The new species is distinguished by a combination of a yellow-orange upper head, blackish upper body, mainly blackish dorsal fin, and scarlet-red pelvic and anal fins. The female of C. hygroxerus is most similar to that of C. morrisoni, sharing a yellowish head and yellow pectoral-fin base.
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The new labrid species, Cirrhilabrus isosceles, is described from six specimens, 31.0–56.7 mm SL, collected from the Ryukyu Archipelago of Japan and the northern reaches of the Philippines in the western Pacific Ocean. The holotype and a paratype were collected at 35 m depth from Funauki Bay, Iriomote-jima, Ryukyu Islands, while the four other paratypes were collected at 24–36 m from Fuga Island, Cagayan Province, northern Philippines. The new species is distinguished by features of the terminal-phase male: i.e. color pattern, a prominent long mid-dorsal-fin basal dark spot, and a broadly lanceolate caudal fin. Despite its atypical caudal-fin shape, the new species has similar color patterns to the Cirrhilabrus lunatus species complex, which differ in having a somewhat lunate caudal fin. Indeed, the mtDNA barcode COI sequences for the new species matches those of some other members of the C. lunatus complex, specifically C. cf. lunatus, C. brunneus, and C. squirei (shared mtDNA haplotypes among species has been documented in other Cirrhilabrus species complexes). Cirrhilabrus isosceles is sympatric with three other members of the C. lunatus complex, and apparently hybridizes with at
The Indo-Pacific labrid fish genus Paracheilinus now contains 20 species. Most of the currently known species inhabit the mega-diverse East Indian region including Paracheilinus angulatus, P. carpenteri, P. cyaneus, P. filamentosus, P. flavianalis, P. lineopunctatus, P. nursalim, P. rennyae, P. togeanensis, P. walton, as well as three recent discoveries described as new species herein. Five species are known from the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, including P. attenuatus (Seychelles and Kenya), P. hemitaeniatus (Madagascar and South Africa), P. mccoskeri (Kenya, Comoro Islands and Arabian Gulf to Andaman Sea), P. octotaenia (Red Sea), and P. piscilineatus (Mauritius). The remaining two species, P. bellae and P. rubricaudalis, are mainly confined to Micronesia/Marshall Islands and PNG/Fiji/Vanuatu, respectively. Members of the genus are typically distinguished on the basis of their caudal-fin and dorsal-fin shapes, the presence or absence of elongate filamentous dorsal-fin rays, and, in particular, the color of terminal-phase (TP) males, including their dramatic nuptial-display patterns. Paracheilinus paineorum n. sp. is described from 8 specimens, 43.1-70.0 mm SL, collected in Indonesia (southwestern Flores, Sulawesi, Nusa Penida, East Borneo, and Seribu Islands) in depths of 10-65 m. It is closely related to the allopatric P. filamentosus and P. xanthocirritus n. sp., differing mainly in coloration (particularly the bright red dorsal-fin markings) and larger maximum size (to at least 70 mm SL). Paracheilinus xanthocirritus n. sp. is described from 12 specimens, 33.9-49.3 mm SL, collected in the South China Sea at the Anambas Islands of Indonesia and Brunei in depths of 15-25 m. In contrast to the closely related P. paineorum n. sp., TP males of this species have a mostly yellow dorsal fin lacking red markings. The two new species further differ from P. filamentosus by having a narrower interorbital and a shorter caudal peduncle. A third new species, Paracheilinus alfiani, n. sp., is described on the basis of two specimens, 48.8 and 49.3 mm SL, from Lembata Island in the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. It is characterized by a rounded and relatively tall dorsal fin without elongate filamentous rays, a slightly rounded caudal fin, and distinctive TP male coloration. In addition to the new species descriptions, a diagnosis and color illustrations are included for all members of the genus. We also present a key to the species and a neighbor-joining tree of mitochondrial DNA sequences which clarifies the genetic relationships among species, revealing four discrete species complexes within the genus.
The local diversity and global richness of coral reef fishes, along with the diversity manifested in their morphology, behaviour and ecology, provides fascinating and diverse opportunities for study. Reflecting the very latest research in a broad and ever-growing field, this comprehensive guide is a must-read for anyone interested in the ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Featuring contributions from leaders in the field, the 36 chapters cover the full spectrum of current research. They are presented in five parts, considering coral reef fishes in the context of ecology; patterns and processes; human intervention and impacts; conservation; and past and current debates. Beautifully illustrated in full-colour, this book is designed to summarise and help build upon current knowledge and to facilitate further research. It is an ideal resource for those new to the field as well as for experienced researchers.
The labrid fish Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus is described as new from seven specimens collected in the Coral Sea, the holotype from Holmes Reef in the western part of the sea, a paratype from the aquarium trade, and 5 paratypes from 60-217 in from the Chesterfield Bank. This species is distinct in having 15 pectoral rays, 16-17 + 5 lateral-line scales, 5 median predorsal scales, 2 rows of scales on cheek, 14-15 gill rakers, a large eye (8.2-12.1 % SL over the range in SL of 35-76 mm), emarginate caudal fin and short pelvic fins in the male, and a color pattern of the male of a very broad longitudinal black band in the outer part of the dorsal fin (absent in middle of fin of largest males), and a submarginal black band in the caudal fin.
FISH-BOL, the Fish Barcode of Life campaign, is an international research collaboration that is assembling a standardized reference DNA sequence library for all fishes. Analysis is targeting a 648 base pair region of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene. More than 5000 species have already been DNA barcoded, with an average of five specimens per species, typically vouchers with authoritative identifications. The barcode sequence from any fish, fillet, fin, egg or larva can be matched against these reference sequences using BOLD; the Barcode of Life Data System ( The benefits of barcoding fishes include facilitating species identification, highlighting cases of range expansion for known species, flagging previously overlooked species and enabling identifications where traditional methods cannot be applied. Results thus far indicate that barcodes separate c. 98 and 93% of already described marine and freshwater fish species, respectively. Several specimens with divergent barcode sequences have been confirmed by integrative taxonomic analysis as new species. Past concerns in relation to the use of fish barcoding for species discrimination are discussed. These include hybridization, recent radiations, regional differentiation in barcode sequences and nuclear copies of the barcode region. However, current results indicate these issues are of little concern for the great majority of specimens.
Halichoeres is a widely distributed coral reef fish genus with high levels of biodiversity in both the Indo-Pacific and New World tropics. This study employed molecular phylogenetic techniques and biogeographic analyses on 1700-1800 bp of mitochondrial CO1, 16s, and 12s to test competing hypotheses regarding the origins of biodiversity in this genus in these two biodiversity hotspots. Analyses indicate that Halichoeres is polyphyletic with distinct New World and Indo-Pacific Ocean components. The Halichoeres in the New World tropics formed a strongly supported clade (99% MP, 100% ML bootstrap values) that diverged 21.2-18.1 mya, suggesting that this lineage may represent a relictual fauna of the ancient Tethys Sea. The closure of the Isthmus of Panama contributed to the creation of Halichoeres biodiversity, but diversification across the Isthmus prior to its closure and within the W. Atlantic after the closure 3.1 mya were also important processes creating biodiversity in the New World tropics. Within the Indonesian Australian Archipelago (IAA) analysis of age vs. geographic distribution supported neither Center of Origin, Center of Accumulation or Center of Overlap hypotheses, and molecular clock estimates indicated that the role of Pleistocene sea level changes in the origins of IAA marine biodiversity may be less important than previously thought. Ancestral distribution reconstructions within the Indo-West Pacific (IWP) clade (99% ML bootstrap value) also failed to support these hypotheses as the reconstructions were highly sensitive to the inclusion of missing taxa. Results suggest plueralistic origins of biodiversity, but that vast amounts of habitat may favor the survival of biodiversity in the IAA biodiversity hotspot.