Pterocaesio monikae, a new species of fusilier (Caesionidae) from western New Guinea (Papua and Papua Barat provinces, Indonesia)

Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 163-170, Volume 13, Issue 3-4 – 23 January 2008


A new species of caesionid fish, Pterocaesio monikae, is described on the basis of 21 specimens, 51.8-97.5 mm SL, collected at Cenderawasih Bay, Papua and Papua Barat provinces, Indonesia during February 2006 and October 2007. It was observed in large schools containing up to several hundred individuals along the upper edge of seaward reef slopes at depths ranging from the surface to 55 m. It is closely related to P. lativittata, which is widely distributed in the Indo-west and central Pacific region. The two species share an unusually slender body shape and colour pattern consisting of a single, relatively broad yellow stripe on the upper side. However, the centre line of the stripe on P. lativittata is positioned below the lateral line, whereas in P. monikae it is above the lateral line. Moreover, the stripe extends farther forward in P. lativittata, usually tapering to a point above the centre of the eye. In P. monikae, the stripe terminates well behind the eye, generally above the posterior margin of the operculum. The two species are also readily distinguished on the basis of transverse scale row counts above and below the lateral line: P. monikae usually has 7 (rarely 6) rows above and 13 (occasionally 12, rarely 14) rows below compared to 9-11 rows above and 15-19 below for P. lativittata. Moreover, there are modal differences in the number of lateral-line scales, circumpeduncular scales, and pectoral-fin rays, with P. monikae exhibiting a trend of lower counts. Finally, P. monikae is a much smaller fish, attaining a maximum size of about 130 mm total length compared to an approximate total length of 200-250 mm for P. lativittata.

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