Comparison of the Indo-Pacific shrimpgobies Amblyeleotris fasciata (Herre, 1953) and Amblyeleotris wheeleri Polunin & Lubbock, 1977

John E. Randall and Zeehan Jaafar

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 49-58, Volume 15, Issue 1 – 15 January 2009


The gobiid fish Amblyeleotris fasciata, symbiotic with alpheid shrimps, was inadequately described by Herre in 1953 from two specimens from Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands. Errors in the description and the apparent loss of the holotype have resulted in taxonomic confusion. Recovery of the holotype has confirmed the opinion of Hoese & Larson (2006) that A. fasciata is a senior synonym of A. katherine Randall, 2004. The species formerly regarded as A. fasciata by some authors is identified as A. wheeleri (Polunin & Lubbock, 1977), type locality Seychelles, common and wide-ranging from the Red Sea and east coast of Africa to the Marshall Islands, Fiji, and Tonga. The first record of A. wheeleri for Oman is provided by two Bishop Museum specimens. Amblyeleotris fasciata ranges in the South Pacific from the Great Barrier Reef to the Society Islands. It is known in the North Pacific only from the Marshall Islands and Mariana Islands. The two species may be distinguished by their pelvic-fin structure. The fifth pelvic soft ray of A. fasciata is longer than the fourth and branches once, the branches closely parallel. The fifth ray of A. wheeleri is shorter than the fourth, branches more than once (the first branch occurring at mid-ray length), the branches separated. Pelvic rays of both species are united by basal membrane; the extent of unification is greater in A. wheeleri than in A. fasciata. Both have slightly oblique, red to dark brown bars on the body, usually narrower than white interspaces in A. fasciata and broader in A. wheeleri. The white interspaces of the former have small yellow spots, while those of the latter are pale blue.

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