Meiacanthus urostigma, a New Fangblenny from the Northeastern Indian Ocean, with Discussion and Examples of Mimicry in Species of Meiacanthus (Teleostei: Blenniidae: Nemophini)

William F. Smith-Vaniz, Ukkrit Satapoomin and Gerald R. Allen

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 25-43, Volume 5, Issue 1 – November 2001


The 3 subgenera and 25 species of Indo-Pacific blenniid fishes of the fangblenny genus Meiacanthus are differentiated in a key. Meiacanthus urostigma, new species, is described from the Surin Islands and northern Sumatra. This region of the Indian Ocean appears to be a localized area of endemism, attributable to glacial sea-level lowering events. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by its colour pattern characterized by a uniformly pale tan body with a narrow dark lateral stripe extending from the snout to near the beginning of the bright orange-yellow caudal peduncle where it is typically interrupted and replaced by an elongate black spot. The new species is the second known member of the subgenus Allomeiacanthus (type species Meiacanthus ditrema Smith-Vaniz). This subgenus differs from the other subgenera most notably in having a toxic buccal gland that is ventrally positioned and encapsulated by the dentary bone, absence of a lateral line, and only 2 pores (3 in the other subgenera) in the mandibular and posttemporal series. Juveniles of the new species appear to be social mimics of similar-sized individuals of the cardinalfish Cheilodipterus quinquelineatus. Mimetic relationships involving species of Meiacanthus are discussed and colour photographs are given of selected mimetic pairs.

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