Wednesday, October 26, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Chauligenion camelopardalis • A New Genus and Species of Deepwater Snake Eel (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from the East China Sea

 Chauligenion camelopardalis 
 McCosker and Okamoto, 2016

Giraffe-spotted Snake Eel |

A new genus and species of ophichthid eel, Chauligenion camelopardalis McCosker and Okamoto, is described based on a specimen trawled at 150 m off western Okinawa. It differs from other ophichthids in its elongation, its pointed tail and snout, lower jaw extension, anterior nostril condition, elongate jaws, gill arch reduction, vertical gill openings, numerous small closely packed teeth, lack of pectoral fins, and its yellowish-tan coloration overlain with rows of brown spots. It is similar to genera of the tribe Ophichthini; however, we are unable to assign it with confidence.

Keywords: Fish taxonomy, Ophichthidae, Chauligenion camelopardalis, genus and sp. nov, East China Sea.

FIGURE 1. Holotype of Chauligenion camelopardalis sp. nov., NSMT-P 125489, female, 407 mm Tl, photographed soon after capture and before preservation. arrows indicate origin of dorsal and anal fins. elongate ophichthine with tail longer than head and trunk, body cylindrical, becoming laterally compressed in tail region; snout and tail tip pointed; lower jaw slightly extended; anterior nostril a hole above outer lip, without a tube; posterior nostrils along upper lip; jaws elongate, capable of closing completely; orbit large, in posterior half of upper jaw, its rear margin above rictus; gill openings low lateral, vertical; median fins elongate, not elevated; dorsal-fin origin above gill opening; pectoral fins absent; teeth small, conical, numerous and densely packed; preopercular pores 3; coloration yellowish-tan overlain with rows of brown spots.

DISTRIBUTION.Known only from the type specimen, collected by trawl in 150 m from the East China Sea. 

ETYMOLOGY. From the Greek chaulios (prominent) and genion (chin), neuter, in reference to its obtrusive lower jaw tip. The epithet is derived from the latin camelopardalis (giraffe), in reference to its coloration, to be treated as a noun in apposition. 

New English name: Giraffe-spotted Snake Eel; New Japanese name: Kirin-umihebi

John E. McCosker and Makoto Okamoto. 2016. Chauligenion camelopardalis, A New Genus and Species of Deepwater Snake Eel (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from the East China Sea.  PROCEEDINGS OF THE CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCESSeries 4, 63(9); 321–328. 

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