California Academy of Sciences 2012 new species list
Every year the California Academy of Sciences issues a press release detailing species newly described to science by academy scientists during the past 12 months. The 2012 list comprises of 137 species new to science including 83 arthropods, 41 fishes, seven plants, four sea slugs, one reptile, and one amphibian; described by more than a dozen Academy scientists along with several dozen international collaborators.
“The ongoing discovery of new species is an important function of systematics-based institutions like the California Academy of Sciences,” said Dr. Terry Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections at the Academy. “During these times, when we are facing the planet’s sixth mass extinction, species may be disappearing before we have a chance to find and describe them. How can we know what to protect, if we don’t know that it exists in the first place?”
Two of the marine highlights of the year were:
- A new species of deepwater Catshark from the Galapagos, the Jaguar Catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi, collected via submersible from depths in the region of 428 –562 metres. The authors chose the common name partly because of its spotted pattern, and partly because it bears a striking resemblance to the fictional “Jaguar Shark” seen cruising the dark depths in the Wes Anderson film, ‘The Life Aquatic’.
- The publication in June of, ‘Reef Fishes of the East Indies’, a three volume magnum opus, several decades in the making. Its geographic coverage spans the South China Sea, Andaman Sea, and the Coral Triangle—the region between the Philippines, Borneo, and New Guinea that is regarded as a global centre of biodiversity. Co-authored by Academy research associate Mark Erdmann, this three-volume book set provides descriptions and colour photographs of more than 2,500 reef fishes, including 25 new species.
I’ve broken down the 41 species of fishes into their family groupings, 17 in all, and included size where possible, in order to make it easier to appreciate these new discoveries from a reef aquarium perspective.
Many of these new species seem to be small, cryptic, or of limited distribution, perhaps being found only at a single location or at a greater depth – all factors in their being previously undescribed – a reflection on the difficulty of fully exploring the underwater world. It’s likely that there are many more similar species awaiting discovery.
As might be expected the most numerous of the new species are Gobies:
List of Fishes
|Family||Scientific Name||Common Name||Location||TLCms||Ref|
|Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks||Bythaelurus giddingsi||Jaguar Catshark||Galapagos||45.3||13|
|Ophichthidae – Snake Eels||Myrichthys paleracio||Whitenose Snake Eel||Philippines||50.0||11|
|Ophichthus machidai||Snake eel||Japan||12|
|Ophichthus obtusus||Snake eel||Japan||12|
|Scolecenchelys fuscapenis||Worm eel||Japan||12|
|Batrachoididae – Toadfishes||Austrobatrachus iselesele||Zulu Toadfish||South Africa||21.2(SL)||10|
|Colletteichthys flavipinnis||Yellowfin Toadfish||Sri Lanka, India||13.2(SL)||9|
|Scorpaenidae – Scorpionfishes||Scorpaenodes bathycolus||Deepreef Scorpionfish||East Indies||8.0||1|
|Serranidae – Anthias||Pseudanthias mica||Mica’s Anthias||East Indies||7.8||1|
|Pseudochromidae – Dottybacks||Pseudochromis ammeri||Raja Ampat Dottyback||Philippines, Indonesia||9.0||4|
|Pseudochromis eichleri||Eichler’s Dottyback||Philippines, Indonesia||11.0||4|
|Pseudochromis oligochrysus||Pale-spotted Dottyback||Indonesia||6.5||3|
|Pseudochromis rutilus||Orange-spotted Dottyback||Indonesia||7.0||3|
|Pseudochromis tigrinus||Tiger Dottyback||East Indies||7.0||1|
|Apogonidae – Cardinalfishes||Ostorhinchus tricinctus||Threeband Cardinalfish||East Indies||6.5||1|
|Nemipteridae – Coral Breams||Pentapodus komodoensis||Komodo Whiptail||East Indies||13.0||1|
|Chaetodontidae – Butterflyfishes||Forcipiger wanai||Cenderawasih Longnose Butterflyfish||East Indies||17.0||1|
|Pomacentridae – Damselfishes||Amblyglyphidodon flavopurpureus||Cenderawasih Damselfish||East Indies||12.0||1|
|Amblyglyphidodon silolona||Silolona Damselfish||East Indies||12.5||1|
|Neoglyphidodon mitratus||Eastern Barhead Damselfish||East Indies||13.5||1|
|Labridae – Wrasses||Cirrhilabrus humanni||Humann’s Fairy-Wrasse||East Indies||7.0||1|
|Iniistius naevus||Blemished Razorfish||East Indies||18.0|
|Pseudocoris petila||Slender Wrasse||East Indies||14.0||1|
|Pinguipedidae – Sandperches||Parapercis bimacula||Redbar Sandperch||East Indies||12.5||1|
|Parapercis sagma||Saddled Sandperch||East Indies||9.0||1|
|Trichonotidae – Sand-divers||Pteropsaron longipinnis||Midwater Sand-diver||East Indies||3.5||1|
|Gobiesocidae – Clingfishes||Aspasmichthys alorensis||Alor Clingfish||East Indies||0.9||1|
|Lepadichthys akiko||Minute Clingfish||East Indies||1.2||1|
|Callionymidae – Dragonets||Synchiropus tudorjonesi||Redback Dragonet||Indonesia||4.8||2|
|Gobiidae – Gobies||Acentrogobius cendrawasih||Cenderawasih Goby||East Indies||5.5||1|
|Eviota atriventris||Neon Dwarfgoby||Indo-Pacific||2.5||8|
|Eviota fallax||Twin Dwarfgoby||Western Pacific Ocean||1.8(SL)||6|
|Eviota notata||Barhead Dwarfgoby||Indian Ocean||1.5 (SL)||7|
|Eviota springeri||Springer’s Dwarfgoby||Indian Ocean||1.7(SL)||7|
|Grallenia baliensis||Bali Goby||East Indies||2.5||1|
|Tomiyamichthys gomezi||Gomez’ Shrimpgoby||East Indies||6.0||1|
|Tomiyamichthys nudus||Scaleless Shrimpgoby||East Indies||5.0||1|
|Tryssogobius sarah||Sarah’s Fairygoby||East Indies||3.3||1|
|Vanderhorstia wayag||Wayag Shrimpgoby||East Indies||4.5||1|
|Ptereleotridae – Dartfishes||Ptereleotris caeruleomarginata||Bluemargin Dartfish||East Indies||7.3||1|
|Ptereleotris rubristigma||Redspot Dartfish||East Indies||10.5||1|
TL – Total length: term used by taxonomists to describe the length of a fish from its most forward part, e.g. its snout, to its rearmost part, e.g. the tip of the tail.
SL – Standard length: term used by taxonomists to describe the length of a fish from its most forward part, e.g. its snout, to the base of the tail. This measurement is used because long-preserved fish often lose the tips of the caudal fin rays through breakage after the desiccation effect of alcohol.
List of Sea Slugs
|Family||Scientific Name||Common Name||Location||Reference|
|Melibe coralophilia||Philippines, Malaysia||5|
|Scyllaeidae||Notobryon panamica||Central America, Caribbean||14|
|Notobryon thompsoni||South Africa||14|
Four species of nudibranchs, in two families, were included in this year’s new species list. One species, Melibe coralophilia, is described as being found in association with two species of coral, the Blue Coral, Heliopora coerulea, and Porites species, although the nature of the association is currently unknown.
For references, see, ‘CalAcademy 2012 references‘
Adapted from materials provided by the California Academy of Sciences.
From my favourite new resource, Fishes of the East Indies, by Allen GR and Erdmann MV
Additional materials courtesy of FishBase