A new species of rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae: Melanotaenia), from Batanta Island, western New Guinea

Gerald R. Allen and Peter J. Unmack

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 109-120, Volume 13, Issue 3-4 – 23 January 2008


A new species of rainbowfish, Melanotaenia synergos, is described on the basis of 45 specimens, 24.1-63.3 mm SL, collected in 1998 at Batanta Island, western New Guinea (Papua Barat Province, Indonesia). It is closely allied to M. catherinae from the nearby island of Waigeo in the Raja Ampat Group. The two species share similar meristic and morphological features as well as general colour pattern similarities. However, they differ in modal counts for pectoral-fin rays and lateral scales. They also exhibit slight colour pattern differences related to the width of the dark midlateral stripe, which is generally narrower in M. synergos, covering one and a half scale rows for most of its length versus 2 to 3 scale rows for M. catherinae. Analysis of genetic relationships based on cytochrome b sequences indicates a close relationship between the two species. Of four species that were analysed (M. synergos, M. catherinae, M. batanta, and M. affinis) the mean Kimura 2-parameter genetic divergences between species varied from 1.3 to 17.1%. The new species differed from M. catherinae by between 2.4 and 2.7%.

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