Hoplolatilus luteus Allen & Kuiter, 1989, a junior synonym of H. fourmanoiri Smith, 1964 (Perciformes: Malacanthidae), based on morphological and molecular data

James K. Dooley and Lizandra Jimenez

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 77-84, Volume 14, Issue 2 – 14 April 2008


Yellow body and caudal fin coloration were the principal characters used to describe Hoplolatilus luteus. Both live observations and preserved specimens of H. fourmanoiri have shown yellow colour pattern variation. Ontogenetic and distributional variation in coloration have been seen in other species of tilefish including Hoplolatilus and Malacanthus. During a week of aquaria observations, the ventral body, head and tail became somewhat darker in H. luteus, shortly thereafter the fish died. It is speculated that a colour change in H. luteus may occur at around 90-105 mm SL. Distinctive subgeneric characters formerly found in H. fourmanoiri and the closely related H. oreni are also found only in H. luteus. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis between H. fourmanoiri and H. luteus showed identity values of (99%) 587/588 bp and (99%) 792/786 bp for 16S and RAG2 nucleotide sequences, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S gene with bootstrapping (1000 replicates), neighbour joining (NJ), and maximum parsimony (MP) analysis always resulted in H. fourmanoiri and H. luteus being shown as terminal sister taxa. Hoplolatilus luteus should be considered a junior synonym of H. fourmanoiri based upon morphological and molecular data.

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