New frogfish not member of new family

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A new frogfish originally believed to be a member of a new family of fishes has been described as a member of an existing genus.

The frogfish, which was covered by Practical Fishkeeping online in April 2008, have been described as a new species of Histiophryne in the the journal Copeia.

Authors Theodore Pietsch, Rachel Arnold and David Hall name the new species Histiophryne psychedelica in allusion to its unique colour pattern of swirling concentric rings and stripes (which the authors postulate to be mimicking that of coral).

Histiophryne psychedelica is unique in having a broad flat face with forward-facing eyes, thick and loose skin on the body that forms conspicuous fleshy folds enveloping the unpaired fins, and a colour pattern of white stripes radiating from the eyes and continuing back to the body and tip of the caudal fin.

Analyses of partial gene sequences and observations of its behaviour have confirmed its distinctiveness from congeners.

Histiophryne psychedelica spends most of the time hidden amongst holes and crevices in coral reefs and moves about by propelling themselves off the substrate with their pelvic fins and hopping with the aid of jets of water expelled from small gill openings on their sides.

The authors also found the females to practice egg brooding, in which a small cluster of eggs is protected within a pocket formed by the body and pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins.

For more information, see the paper: Pietsch, TW, RJ Arnold and DJ Hall (2009) A bizarre new species of frogfish of the genus Histiophryne (Lophiiformes: Antennariidae) from Ambon and Bali, Indonesia. Copeia 2009, pp. 37"45.