Three new species of tropical marine fish have been described from the Indo Pacific.
The three fish, commonly known as Pygmy brotula, are all members of the rare Microbrotula genus, and sit the Ophidiiformes family Bythitidae.
Interestingly for a marine fish species, Microbrotula are livebearers and not egglayers.
Most of the fish are very small, less than a couple inches in length, and have elongated eel-pout like bodies with anguilliform rear ends.
The fish were described by Eric Anderson of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, South Africa, in the systematics journal Zootaxa.
One of the brotula, which has been named Microbrotula bentleyi, was found in the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Red Sea and South Africa.
The other two species, M. polyactis and M. queenslandica were found in the waters off Queensland.
All of the brotula live on coral reefs and among the reef rubble adjacent to them in depths of around 50m.
The genus contains now contains five species: Microbrotula randalli; queenslandica; polyactis; rubra and bentleyi.
There is a full guide and key to identifying the Microbrotula in the paper.
For more details see: Anderson, E. (2005) - Three new species of Microbrotula (Teleostei: Ophidiiformes: Bythitidae) from the Indo-West Pacific. Zootaxa 1006: 33-42 (2005).