New wrasse named after ichthyologist

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Ichthyologists have described a new species of wrasse from the Western South Atlantic in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Osmar Luiz, Jr, Carlos Ferreira and Luiz Rocha name the new wrasse Halichoeres sazimai after Brazilian ichthyologist Ivan Sazima.

This new species, from the southern and southeastern coasts of Brazil, can be distinguished from congeners in having a white body with a midline, zigzag patterned stripe on body, black and brownish in terminal males and yellow or golden in females and juveniles.

An analysis of a mitochondrial cytochrome b gene fragment reveals that it is most closely related to H. bathyphilus.

According to the authors his species was regularly observed foraging solitary on sand bottoms immediately adjacent to the lower end of rocky reefs.

Harems composed of a few (five to ten) individuals are not common but occasionally seen. Sometimes the fish venture over the reefs, but generally never shallower than 20 m depth depending on water temperature (they seem to be associated with temperatures lower than 18C).

As observed in other labrids, Halichoeres sazimai forages mostly on mobile invertebrates on soft and hard substratum, being more commonly observed foraging on sand bottoms.

For more information, see the paper: OJ, Jr, Luiz, CEL Ferreira and LA Rocha (2009) Halichoeres sazimai, a new species of wrasse (Perciformes: Labridae) from the Western South Atlantic. Zootaxa 2092, pp. 37"46.