Volume 15, Issue 1, 15 January 2009
Volume 15, Issue 1 – 15 January 2009
Menachem Goren: Saving critically endangered fish species – utopia or a practical idea? The story of the Yarqon bleak – Acanthobrama telavivensis (Cyprinidae) as a test case, pp. 1-12
Sixteen percent of the Israeli native freshwater fishes have become extinct and 19% are critically endangered. The situation in other arid and semi-arid countries is similar. Are all the endangered species doomed to become extinct? The case of the restoration of the wild populations of the Yarqon bleak clearly shows that there is an alternative. The Yarqon bleak, a cyprinid fish endemic to the Mediterranean rivers in Israel, almost became extinct following the drought of 1998-1999. Several days prior to the drying of the streams, ca. 150 fish from two basins were brought to the Ichthyological Laboratory at Tel Aviv University. They were carefully treated and housed in a breeding centre. Within five years, we had managed to produce more than 14,000 fish. First attempts to reintroduce the fish to the Yarqon River, made in 2002 and 2003, failed, in that the adults did not breed. Following an experiment which showed that the fish need suitable spawning sites and shelter sites for juveniles, several aquatic sites were engineered according to knowledge acquired during the research and were stocked with laboratory-born fish in 2006. During 2007and 2008, juvenile Yarqon bleak of various sizes were found in eight out of 11 monitored sites. The success to save the Yarqon bleak shows that endangered fish species can be rescued. This requires action to be taken along two fronts: 1) raising public awareness and 2) a professional approach that includes relevant research and implementation of the results.
The Yarqon bleak (Acanthobrama telavivensis) from the Yarqon River. Photo by M. Goren
Aarn and Walter Ivantsoff: Description of a new subfamily, genus and species of a freshwater atherinid, Bleheratherina pierucciae (Pisces: Atherinidae) from New Caledonia, pp. 13-28
Bleheratherina pierucciae is described from Tontouta (26°56.9’S 166°14’E) and Pirogues Rivers, New Caledonia. The new species has been compared with other Indo-Pacific atherinids, both freshwater and marine (representatives of genera Atherinason, Atherinomorus, Atherinosoma, Atherion, Craterocephalus, Hypoatherina, Kestratherina, Leptatherina and Stenatherina) and an atherionid (Atherion). Dyer & Chernoff’s (1996) division of Atherinidae into three subfamilies has been briefly reviewed and a fourth subfamily, Bleheratherininae, is now added to this list since the new species is distinct and different from all known atherinids. Bleheratherina pierucciae can be immediately recognised by the unusual structure of its mouthparts. Other distinct osteological characters confirm that it merits a subfamilial status. The evolutionary history of this new species must have commonality with the Australian coastal and marine fishes, having probably been derived from a common ancestor likely to have occurred in a marine environment i.e. Arafura Sea. The zoogeographic events, which led to the separation of New Caledonia from Australia and its emergence as a separate island, post Palaeocene, must have led to a divergence of the ancestral fauna which invaded the freshwaters of New Caledonia.
Bleheratherina pierucciae Tontouta River, New Caledonia. Photo taken at the site of the collection by Heiko Bleher. The photograph shows one of the specimens designated as a paratype
John E. Randall and Hiroyuki Tanaka: Cirrhilabrus naokoae, a new labrid fish from Indonesia, pp. 29-36
The fairy wrasse Cirrilabrus naokoae is described as a new species from three male specimens obtained via the aquarium trade; the probable locality is the vicinity of Medan on the northwest coast of Sumatra. It is related to C. joanallenae, C. morrisoni, and C. rubriventralis, which share the characters in the male of an elevated anterior part of the dorsal fin, very large pelvic fins, a single row of scales on the cheek, and some features of colour. It is most similar to C. joanallenae, differing in having the anterior lobe of the dorsal fin about one-fourth of the standard length (instead of a pennant from the first two dorsal spines as long or longer than the standard length in C. joanallenae), having 16 instead of 14 or 15 anterodorsal lateral-line scales, and having a broad bright yellow stripe on the side of the body.
Fright colour pattern of holotype of Cirrhilabrus naokoae. Aquarium photo by H. Tanaka
Martin F. Gomon and Rudie H. Kuiter: Two new pygmy seahorses (Teleostei: Syngnathidae: Hippocampus) from the Indo-West Pacific, pp. 37-44
Two new pygmy species of the syngnathid genus Hippocampus are described, each from a single specimen. An apparent Red Sea endemic, H. debelius n. sp., the larger of the two, is easily separated from other pygmy seahorses by the long spine-like processes on its head, trunk and tail, separate gill openings and the presence of an external tail pouch in males for brooding the young. The second, H. waleananus n. sp., known only from Sulawesi, has a more rounded trunk, at least in one of the sexes, similar to that of H. colemani Kuiter, 2003, H. pontohi Lourie & Kuiter, 2008, H. severnsi Lourie & Kuiter, 2008 and H. satomiae Lourie & Kuiter 2008, and like those species, has short, often tubercular spines, where present. It differs from H. bargibanti Whitley, 1970 in having 12 dorsal fin rays (versus 14) and nine pectoral fin rays (versus 10 or 11) and from the others in having a long tail with 32 rings (versus 26-31).
Hippocampus waleananusn. sp., mated pair, Indonesia, Sulawesi Tengah, Togean Islands, Tomini Bay. Photo by B. Brockhausen
Anthony C. Gill, Mark V. Erdmann and Gerald R. Allen: Pseudochromis matahari, a new species of dottyback (Perciformes: Pseudochromidae) from Halmahera, Indonesia, pp. 45-48
Pseudochromis matahari n. sp. is described from the 44.7 mm SL holotype from Halmahera, Indonesia. It is distinguished from other pseudochromines in having the following combination of characters: Dorsal-fin rays III,26; anal-fin rays III,16; anal-fin spines moderately slender and weakly pungent, the second spine only slightly stouter than the third; lower lip weakly interrupted at symphysis; and circumpeduncular scales 16. It also has a distinctive live coloration.
Pseudochromis matahari n. sp., live holotype, NCIP 6343, 44.7 mm SL, North Tanjung Bobo, Halmahera, Indonesia. Photo by M. Erdmann
John E. Randall and Zeehan Jaafar: Comparison of the Indo-Pacific shrimpgobies Amblyeleotris fasciata (Herre, 1953) and Amblyeleotris wheeleri Polunin & Lubbock, 1977, pp. 49-58
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.
Amblyeleotris wheeleri, Maldives. Underwater photo by J. E. Randall