Four cardinals described in Nectamia study

9daddee9-9d3f-4735-a758-a10e9c40b624

Editor's Picks
Features Post
The brightest pupils
04 October 2021
Features Post
Dealing with egg ‘fungus’
04 October 2021
Features Post
Rathbun’s tetra in the wild
13 September 2021
Fishkeeping News Post
Report: 2021 BKKS National Koi Show results
13 September 2021
Features Post
The World's forgotten fishes
16 August 2021


A recent study of the cardinalfish genus Nectamia from the Indo-Pacific region recognizes nine species, four of which are described as new.

The study by Thomas Fraser of the Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida is published in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Nectamia was originally named as a subgenus within Apogon, but is considered a distinct genus in this study.

DiagnosisIt is diagnosed from other apogonids by the following characters: ...IX dorsal spines as VII(I)"I, the eighth of nine dorsal spines reduced to a tiny nubbin hidden under the skin supported by a free sixth distal radial, dorsal spines slender, with slight thickening of the third spine; 9 soft dorsal rays; 8 soft anal rays; 13 pectoral-fin rays; 23"30 total rudiments and rakers on the first gill arch, 22"29 well-developed gill rakers, 16"18 shorter gill rakers present on the second ceratobranchial and hypobranchial; three supraneurals; two supernumerary spines on the first dorsal pterygiophore; one supernumerary spine on the first anal pterygiophore; one pair of slender uroneurals, three epurals, free parhypural, five free hypurals; procurrent caudal rays segmented; forked caudal fin, all head and body scales ctenoid, scales ctenoid or cycloid on base of pectoral fin, two large median pelvic scales, the posterior scale cycloid in some species, no developed accessory pelvic scale, pored lateral-line scales with one or two distal openings above and below main lateralis canal; cephalic lateralis pores numerous, mostly as minipores, a terminal lachrymal pore, a pair of ventral lachrymal pores, an anterior dentary and mental pores, terminal end of supraorbital canal with a large pore near anterior nare, lateral margin of supraorbital canal near posterior nare small, lateral margin of supraorbital canal midway on interorbit with small pores, simple postorbital canal projections with minipores, anterior margin of supratemporal canal smooth, posterior supratemporal canal margin with complex projections and minipores, lateral margin of mandibular canal with many minipores, a small posterior articular pore; stomach and intestine black with pale peritoneum; dark peduncular spot or bar, dark cheek mark between angle of preopercle and eye, lachrymal and anterior infraorbitals with yellowish mark, no stripes on head, body or vertical fins, pale bars and dark saddles variable present or absent on body, dorsal and ventral caudal-fin edges pale to variously coloured...

Nectamia ignitopsThis species is distinguished from other members of the genus in having two faint dorsal saddles on the body, faint band on the caudal peduncle, absence of pale bars on the sides of the body, faint cheek mark, absence of dark margins to the caudal fins, 13 pectoral-fin rays, 24"27 total gill rakers, body depth 44"47% standard length, caudal peduncle depth 18"20% standard length, length of second anal spine 19"21% standard length, and pectoral fin length 25"29% standard length.

Nectamia ignitops is named after the colour of the iris (from the Latin ignitus meaning glowing of a fire and Greek ops, meaning eye), and is knonw from the coastal South China Sea.

Nectamia luxuriaNectamia luxuria is distinguished from other members of the genus in lacking a dark saddle on the body below the second dorsal fin, many pale bars on the body, caudal peduncle with an incomplete dark wide bar mostly above the lateral line, caudal fin with dark margins, subocular mark thin and triangular, 13 pectoral fin rays, 25"31 total gill rakers, body depth 39"44% standard length, caudal peduncle depth 16"20% standard length, length of second anal spine 17"21% standard length, and pectoral fin length 26"29% standard length.

The species is known from the Maldive Islands eastward in the Indian Ocean and in the wetsern Pacific to Mangareva Island, and is named after the numerous pale bars on the body (from the Latin luxuria, meaning profusion).

Nectamia similisThis species differs from other members of the genus in having two dark saddles on the body below the first and second dorsal fins, a narrow pale bar reaching to the top of the preopercle on the opercle, a few narrow pale bars on the body, caudal peduncle with a complete dark wide bar connected dorsally and ventrally, caudal fin with dark margins, subocular mark thin and triangular, 13 pectoral fin rays, 25"28 total gill rakers, body depth 43"45% standard length, caudal peduncle depth 18"21% standard length, length of second anal spine 19"21% standard length, and pectoral fin length 26"30% standard length.

Nectamia similis is named after the pale bars on the body (similar to N. luxuria) and the saddles and caudal mark (similar to N. bandanensis) . It is known from the western Pacific to Yap.

Nectamia viriaNectamia viria differs from other members of the genus in having a dark saddle on the body below the second dorsal fin, caudal peduncle with a complete dark wide bar connected dorsally and ventrally, caudal fin with dark margins, subocular mark thin and triangular, 13 pectoral fin rays, 25"28 total gill rakers, body depth 44"47% standard length, caudal peduncle depth 17"19% standard length, length of second anal spine 16"18% standard length, and pectoral fin length 26"29% standard length.

The species is known from Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and out to Fiji, and is named after the band around the caudal peduncle (from the Latin viria, meaning bracelet).

Other NectamiaThe five other species of Nectamia recognized are: N. annularis (from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden), N. bandanensis (from the western Pacific, extending to the Central Pacific to the Marshall Islands and Samoa), N. fusca (from the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and throughout the western Pacific to the Tonga Islands, Samoa, Phoenix and Marshall Islands), N. savayensis (from the Indian Ocean to the Central Pacific) and N. zebrinus (from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden).

For more information, see the paper: Fraser, TH (2008) Cardinalfishes of the genus Nectamia (Apogonidae, Perciformes) from the Indo-Pacific region with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 1691, pp. 1"52.