New parrotfish described

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Scientists from Thailand and the USA have described a new species of parrotfish from the eastern Indian Ocean.

The description of the new species, named Scarus maculipinna, is published in a paper by Mark Westneat, Ukkrit Satapoomin and John Randall in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Picture kindly supplied by Ukkrit Satapoomin.

Scarus maculipinna is distinguished from other members of the genus in having 14 pectoral rays, four median predorsal scales, three rows of scales on the cheek with the lower row having one or two scales, and a colour pattern consisting of the following: initial phase with dark dorsal part of body, pale ventral part with three narrow white stripes; yellowish snout, iris of eye and pectoral fin base; three distinctive black spots, one on the anterior dorsal fin, one on the anterior anal fin from the third anal spine to the second anal ray, and a small one at the base of the anterior pectoral fin ray; terminal-male phase with a complex colour pattern of blue-green, pink, and yellow with dark saddle extending from the postorbital region to the fourth dorsal spine and slanting anteroventrally to just behind the pectoral-fin base; head with a broad blue-green stripe on snout that divides to form a branch through the upper eye, continuing a short distance beyond, and a branch through the lower eye, extending onto the opercle; chin and suborbital region pinkish yellow with a short transverse blue-green chin strap; an irregular blue-green zone ventrally on the head that continues broadly onto the side of the chest and anterior abdomen; body blue dorsally posterior to dark saddle, a midlateral blue-green stripe on the caudal peduncle that joins a large blue-green crescent in caudal fin.

The new species is found in shallow water (3"15 m), primarily on reef crest and slope habitats with high coral cover.

It is known from the reefs of Surin and Similan Islands of Thailand and the Mentawai Islands off the southwest coast of Sumatra, although a photograph of a specimen in the coastal waters of western Java has also ben published.

For more information, see the paper: Westneat, MW, U Satapoomin and JE Randall (2007) Scarus maculipinna, a new species of parrotfish (Perciformes, Scaridae) from the eastern Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 1628, pp. 59"68.