New Slingjaw wrasse described

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Scientists from the USA have described a second species of Slingjaw wrasse, naming it Epibulus brevis in the latest issue of the journal Copeia.

Authors Bruce Carlson, John Randall, and Michael Dawson distinguish the new species from the sole congener, Epibulus insidiator, by the relatively drab colour of the male, prominent black pigment on the pectoral fins of most females (vs. no black pigment), smaller size, slightly longer pectoral fins 23.1"26.2% standard length (vs. 20.5"23.3), and genetically as determined by mitochondrial DNA (16S rDNA) analysis.

Epibulus brevis is known from the seas off Palau, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The name of the new species comes from the Latin for short (brevis), in reference to its distinctly smaller size than E. insidiator.

The authors also examined the gut contents of E. brevis, and found their diet to consist largely of crustaceans and small fish.

The authors write he males do not display in such an obvious manner as E. insidiator, but they do swim conspicuously around a putative territory, usually a short distance above the bottom, but sometimes higher in the water column, presumably to be more visible to the females.

The male's courtship posture is distinctly different from that of E. insidiator, with the caudal fin folded, and the dorsal and anal fins held closely to the body.

The males swim around prospective females, displaying in a very subtle manner.

The spawning rush varies, ranging from a low arch to a short and relatively slow upward movement.

At the time of spawning the median fins of the male are more widely spread.

For more information, see the paper: Carlson, BA, JE Randall and MN Dawson (2008) A new species of Epibulus (Perciformes: Labridae) from the west Pacific. Copeia 2008, pp. 476"483.