New scorpionfish described

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A new species of the scorpionfish has been described from the Izu Peninsula on the Pacific coast of Japan.

The new species, named Scorpaena brevispina by Japanese scorpionfish experts Hiroyuki Motomura and Hiroshi Senou in the most recent volume of the Journal of Fish Biology, is described based on a single specimen, collected off the east coast of the Izu peninsula, at a depth of 45m, in 1982.

The new species is distinguished from other Indo-Pacific members of the genus Scorpaena by a combination of features, including, amongst others, 17 pectoral-fin rays, 44 longitudinal scale rows, 13 scales below the lateral line, 17 gill rakers, three vertical or slightly oblique ridges along the anterior surface of the preocular spine, the absence of a longitudinal ridge along the lateral surface of maxilla, the presence of a lateral lacrimal spine, an extremely deep, rectangular shaped occipital pit, relatively long pectoral fins and relatively short third to fifth dorsal-fin spines, a feature after which the new species has been named (brevispina from the latin brevis, meaning short, and spina meaning spine).

Though the description of the new species is based on a single, preserved specimen, two additional individuals identified as S. brevispina have also been photographed by divers off the coast of the Izu Peninsula, between 30-45m depths.

Based on these photographs the new species appears to exhibit a brilliant red colour in life, suffused with irregular pink and white markings.

These specimens were not collected and are not considered part of the type series (the specimens on which the description is based), which is composed only the holotype (the specimen to which the name of the species is attached).

The authors have proposed the name Japanese shortspined scorpionfish (Kurenai-fusakasago in Japanese) as a standard common name for the new species.

For more details on the Japanese shortspined scorpionfish see the paper: Motomura, H. and H. Senou (2008) - A new species of the scorpionfish genus Scorpaena (Scorpaenidae) from Izu Peninsula, Pacific coast of Japan. Journal of Fish Biology, 72: 1761-1772.