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Description of two new sand-dwelling gobies (Gobiidae: Hazeus) from the tropical western Pacific Ocean

by Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann aqua 27 (2) pp. 37-56

Two new species belonging to the gobiid genus Hazeus are described from sand-bottom habitats in the tropical western Pacific. Hazeus ammophilus n. sp. is described on the basis of 54 specimens, 11.6-33.4 mm SL from Papua New Guinea (Milne Bay Province) and Indonesia (West Papua Province and Anambas Islands, South China Sea). It also ranges to the Philippines and southern Japan, based on underwater photographs. Diagnostic features include: third or fourth dorsal spine longest, segmented dorsal and anal rays usually 10 (sometimes 9), pectoral rays 13-17 (usually 16); lateral scales 25-28 (usually 26); transverse-scales 7; predorsal scales 6-9 (usually 7, rarely 8-9); ctenoid scales covering body and nape, except cycloid, embedded scales on prepelvic area and pectoral-fin base; cheek and opercle naked; longitudinal pattern of cephalic sensory papillae; adult male in life blotchy golden brown with whitish to pale grey flecks on head and sides, midlateral row of five, large darkbrown spots; female with similar, but less vivid coloration, and lack double row of transverse brown streaks and brown outer margin on dorsal fins, instead with broad, submarginal whitish band. Hazeus profusus n. sp. is described on the basis of 35 specimens, 14.1-28.6 mm SL, from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Philippines, and Indonesia. Diagnostic features include third dorsal spine longest, segmented dorsal and anal rays usually 10 (sometimes 9), pectoral rays 16-18 (rarely 16); branched caudal-fin rays 12-13 (usually 12); lateral scales 24-26 (rarely 24); transverse scales 7; predorsal scales 6-8 (usually 7); ctenoid scales covering body and nape, except cycloid on prepelvic area, pectoral-fin base, and most of cheek; head completely scaled, ctenoid scales on opercle and posterior cheek; “mixed” pattern of cephalic sensory papillae including two primary longitudinal rows and several transverse rows; colour in life generally tan to whitish ventrally with 5-6 diffuse brown saddles dorsally on head and body, five large rectangular,dark-brown spots midlaterally on side of body, and numerous smaller dark-brown and white spots on dorsal half of head and body. The new taxa are compared with the six other species in the genus, some of which were previously assigned to Oplopomops and Opua, which are herein recognized as junior synonyms of Hazeus.

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