Friday, December 11, 2015

A new goby: Nesogobius tigrinus

One of the largest families of fishes are the Gobies. More than 2000 species are currently known but it seems that there are many goby species we haven't discovered yet. Gobies include some of the smallest vertebrates in the world, such as Trimmatom nanus and Pandaka pygmaea, which are under 1 cm long when fully grown.

Gobies can be found all over the world in tropical and temperate near shore-marine, brackish and freshwater environments. On coral reefs, they constitute 35% of the total number of fishes. Gobies are elusive bottom-dwellers building burrows they occupy as pairs. Some species live inside the bodies (e.g. sponges) or burrows of invertebrates.

The new species was found around Kangaroo Island in Australia and its name was derived from Latin for 'banded'.

For the experts: Nesogobius is one of two goby genera with all species wholly restricted to temperate Australian waters. Described here is a new member of the genus discovered during near-shore marine and estuarine fish sampling along the central southern Australian coastline. The tiger sandgoby Nesogobius tigrinus sp. nov. is distinguished from other congeners by a combination of colouration including four prominent vertical black bars on males; morphological characters involving body scales (large), head scales (naked), body depth (slender) and gill opening (wide); meristic counts including a lack of second dorsal and anal fin spines; and mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence. The species appears to be a narrow range endemic, restricted to specific sub-tidal habitat in the unique sheltered embayments of northeast Kangaroo Island. This study forms part of ongoing investigations to more fully describe the biodiversity and conservation requirements of the
regional ichthyofauna.

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