a new species of fairy wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from
the Timor Sea, northern Australia
Gerald R. Allen & Michael
A new species of labrid fish,
Cirrhilabrus hygroxerus, is described from
19 type specimens, 38.4–56.1 mm SL, collected from
the eastern Timor Sea, Northern Territory, Australia.
The new taxon belongs to a species complex containing
five other Indo-Pacific species, comprising C.
humanni (western Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia
and East Timor), C. joanallenae (western Sumatra),
C. morrisoni (Hibernia Reef, western Timor Sea),
C. naokoae (Nias Island, western Sumatra),
and the widespread C. rubriventralis (Red Sea,
western Indian Ocean, Maldives, and Sri Lanka). Members
of this complex typically have a single row of scales
on the cheek and share the unique combination in the
terminal-phase (TP) male of an elevated anterior dorsal
fin, rounded caudal fin, and large fan or club-shaped
pelvic fins without filamentous extensions. The new
species is most similar to C. humanni and C.
morrisoni, and the three species have apparently
allopatric distributions in the Timor Sea-western
Sunda Islands region. These three species share a
uniquely shaped dorsal fin characterized by the presence
of an anterior elevated, spike-like pennant. The best
means of separating these species are differences
in the color patterns of the TP male, primarily on
the head, upper body, and on the dorsal, anal, and
pelvic fins. The new species is distinguished by a
combination of a yellow-orange upper head, blackish
upper body, mainly blackish dorsal fin, and scarlet-red
pelvic and anal fins. The female of C. hygroxerus
is most similar to that of C. morrisoni, sharing
a yellowish head and yellow pectoral-fin base.
Allen, G.R. & Hammer,
M.P. (2016) Cirrhilabrus hygroxerus, a new
species of fairy wrasse (Pisces: Labridae) from the
Timor Sea, northern Australia. Journal of the Ocean
Science Foundation, 22, 41-52.
publication date: 20 August