Journal of the
Ocean Science Foundation

An open-access free online peer-reviewed Marine Biology Journal, since 2008.

published by the Ocean Science Foundation

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Scorpaena wellingtoni n. sp., a new scorpionfish from the Galápagos Islands (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae)

Benjamin C. Victor


The new scorpionfish species Scorpaena wellingtoni is described from two specimens collected from Tagus Cove on Isla Isabela in the Galápagos Archipelago. The barcode COI mtDNA sequence for the holotype of the new species differs by 10.8-14.2% from other members of a set of small related New World scorpionfishes, including S. russula and S. sonorae in the eastern Pacific and S. inermis, S. albifimbria, and S. calcarata in the western Atlantic. The new species is very similar in appearance to the Atlantic Mushroom Scorpionfish, S. inermis, with similar markings, a reduced second preopercular spine, no supplemental preopercular spine, eight dorsal-fin soft rays, two spines on the suborbital ridge, a short snout, and a narrow shallow interorbital space. It shares the tabs extending down from the pigmented corneal drape over the pupil, however they are not mushroom-shaped as in S. inermis. The new species further differs from S. inermis by having a distinct occipital pit, more prominent head spines, and a cleithral spine. S. wellingtoni also resembles the Atlantic Coral Scorpionfish S. albifimbria in markings, a reduced second preopercular spine, a relatively deep body, a short snout, and the presence of the occipital pit and cleithral spines, but it does not share the supplemental preopercular spine or the nine dorsal-fin soft rays and three suborbital-ridge spines found on S. albifimbria. The two widespread eastern-Pacific congeners, S. russula and S. sonorae, also have reduced second preopercular spines, but both differ from the new species in markings and having flat or very shallow occipital pits and an additional dorsal-fin ray and suborbital-ridge spine (S. calcarata in the Atlantic differs in the same characters, except the last). A rare deepwater species from Cocos Island and the Galápagos Archipelago, S. cocosensis, shares most meristic characters but has a less arched upper body, a wider interorbital space with prominent interorbital ridges, and different color and markings. S. wellingtoni is apparently found only in the Galápagos Islands and is thus far the only endemic scorpionfish reported in the Archipelago.



Victor, B.C. (2013) Scorpaena wellingtoni n. sp., a new scorpionfish from the Galapagos Islands (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 8, 30-43.

publication date: 1 October 2013