New species - Apterichtus australis

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A new species of ophichthid snake eel has been discovered from a group of islands in the Pacific.

Jack Randall of the Bishop Museum, Hawaii, and John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences, described the new species as Apterichtus australis in a paper in the ichthyological systematics speed journal Zootaxa.

The eel, which is a member of the family Ophichthidae, was found in trawls taken at depths of 12-100m off the Easter, Pitcairn, Rapa and Kermadec islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Randall and McCosker say that the new eel is closely related to Apterichtus flavicaudus, an 80cm long, eel found in sandy areas around reefs in the eastern central Pacific.

For more details on the new species of eel see the paper: McCosker, J and J Randall (2005) - Notes on the snake eels of the genera Apterichtus and Ichthyapus (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) of the Central and South Pacific, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 800: 1-11 (2005)