New goby named after Emperor

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A new genus of goby from the South Pacific has been named after the Emperor of Japan.

The goby is a member of the sicydiines (a group of small, slender gobies frequently found in fast-flowing freshwater streams) and has just been described in the latest issue of the journal Cybium by Ronald Watson, Philippe Keith and Grard Marquet.

The new genus and species is named Akihito vanuatu, with the genus named after Emperor Akihito of Japan (...for his many contributions to goby systematics and phylogenetic research...) and the species named after the island nation of Vanuatu, on which the goby is found.

Akihito vanuatu can be distinguished from other sicydiine gobies in having a combination of males with only conical and caniniform premaxillary and dentary teeth, females with few caniniform and numerous tricuspid premaxillary teeth and fine horizontal teeth in dentary, a free tongue, a large broad epural, males with midline scales much greater in height than length, and a pelvic disc that is fused to the belly between only the fifth rays.

Akihito vanuatu is found in swift clear streams with a rocky bottom, with some of them being temporary.

The type locality lacked running water (in July 2002 when the fish was collected) and the specimens were found in the remnant pools among the rocks.

The authors state that the absence of permanently running water in some of their habitats means that all sicydiine larvae need to enter the marine environment to complete their development and then returning to rivers for further growth and reproduction after few weeks spent in the sea.

For more information, see the paper: Watson, RE, P Keith & G Marquet (2007) Akihito vanuatu, a new genus and new species of freshwater goby (Sicydiinae) from the South Pacific. Cybium 31, pp. 341"349.