New dottyback mimics damsel

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A new species of dottyback has been described from coastal waters off western New Guinea.

The description of the new species, named Manonichthys jamali by Gerald Allen and Mark Erdmann, is published in the most recent issue of the journal Zoological Studies.

Manonichthys jamali is distinguished from other members of the genus in having ...hyaline pectoral fins; at least some ctenoid cheek and opercular scales; caudal-fin rounded to truncate in young fish to strongly emarginate or lunate in adults; 17-22 predorsal scales, extending anteriorly to point ranging from slightly posterior to slightly anterior to posterior interorbital pores; and a prominent dark bar across anterior caudal peduncle and adjacent posterior body extending onto basal 1/2 of posterior dorsal and anal fin rays...

This species is apparently restricted to the Fak Fak portion of the Bird's Head (Vogelkop) Peninsula in far western New Guinea.

The name of this species honours the memory of Jamal, a crew member who died as a result of a shipboard accident aboard the diving vessel during an exploratory survey of the Fak Fak-Kaimana region.

The colour pattern of M. jamali is thought to mimic that of the damselfish Chromis retrofasciata.

This mimicry is thought to be aggressive, where the dottyback makes use of its resemblance to the damselfish to gain closer approach its prey (small fishes).

The effectiveness of this mimicry is enhanced by the close proximity with which M. jamali swims with C. retrofasciata.

For more information, see the paper: Allen, G.R. and M.V. Erdmann (2007) A new species of Manonichthys Gill, 2004 (Pisces: Pseudochromidae) from Irian Jaya Barat Province, Indonesia. Zoological Studies 46, pp. 541"546.