New species of dwarf goby discovered

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A striking new species of dwarf goby has been discovered in one of the world's newest countries.

The new goby was found off Timor-Leste by researchers from Conservation International (CI). It's the first new species to have been discovered in the country, which gained independence from Indonesia 11 years ago.

Timor-Leste occupies the northeastern half of the island of Timor, which is the eastern-most of the Lesser Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia. It has biogeographic influences of both the Western Pacific as well as the northeastern Indian Oceans and is located in the world’s premier area for marine biodiversity, mainly due to the extraordinary wealth of coral reef organisms.

In August 2012 an assessment was undertaken of the Konis Santana National Park — Timor-Leste's first national park — as part of USAID's Coral Triangle Support Program.

Coral reef fish biodiversity was surveyed from 0-70 m depth at 20 sites and this lovely new goby was among the 741 species of reef fish recorded off Timor-Leste’s northern coast.

It was found in shallow water and has been named Santana's dwarf goby (Eviota santanai), which CI says is "named in honour of Connisso Antonino (commonly known as "Nino Konis" Santana), a national hero in Timor-Leste’s recent struggle for independence."

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