Monday, October 3, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Synchiropus sycorax • A New Species of Dragonet (Teleostei: Callionymidae) from the Philippines


Synchiropus sycorax 
Tea & Gill, 2016   

Abstract

Synchiropus sycorax n. sp. is described from six specimens (22.6–40.1 mm SL) collected from Jolo Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines. It appears to be most closely related to S. tudorjonesi, which ranges from the Maldive Islands through Indonesia and the Philippine Islands to southern Japan. The new species differs from S. tudorjonesi and other congeners in live coloration: head and body bright red, bright yellow ventrally, with prominent white spots on head (one spot or blotch over preopercular spine, two elongate spots behind middle of eye, and one spot behind upper part of eye at about 1 o’clock position) and body (in three rows, an uppermost row beginning below soft dorsal, tracking lateral line to caudal peduncle, a lowermost row extending from above anterior anal fin to caudal peduncle, and a middle row extending obliquely from above pectoral fin to anterior part of lowermost series of spots); males with pelvic fin and pelvic-pectoral membrane bright yellow with broad bluish or greenish grey to black submarginal band across distal third of fin.

Keywords: Pisces, Ichthyology; taxonomy; Jolo Island, Sulu Archipelago


FIGURE 3. Synchiropus sycorax, female, aquarium specimen from Jolo Island, Philippines. Specimen not retained; approximately 20 mm SL (Y.K. Tea). 

FIGURE 2. Synchiropus sycorax, male paratype in an aquarium, ZRC 54776, 40.1 mm SL, Jolo Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines (Y.K. Tea). 

Synchiropus sycorax n. sp.
Ruby Dragonet 

Holotype. AMS I.47200-001, 39.4 mm SL male, Philippines, Sulu Archipelago, Jolo Island, B. Pagkaliwagan, 29 November 2015.
Paratypes. AMS I.47200-002, 26.7 mm SL female; CAS 241566 , 34.8 mm SL male; USNM 438956, 35.5 mm SL male; ZRC 54776, 22.6 mm SL female, 40.1 mm SL male (all collected with the holotype). 

Diagnosis.Synchiropus sycorax differs from congeners in the following live coloration details: head and body bright red, bright yellow ventrally, with prominent white spots on head (one spot or blotch over preopercular spine, two elongate spots behind middle of eye, and one spot behind upper part of eye at about 1 o’clock position) and body (in three rows, an uppermost row beginning below soft dorsal, tracking lateral line to caudal peduncle, a lowermost row extending from above anterior anal fin to caudal peduncle, and a middle row extending obliquely from above pectoral fin to anterior part of lowermost series of spots); males with pelvic fin and pelvic-pectoral membrane bright yellow with broad bluish or greenish grey to black submarginal band across distal third of fin


Distribution and habitat. Synchiropus sycorax is currently known only from Jolo Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines (Figure 5). According to B. Shutman (pers. comm.) it occurs at depths of 20–38m in areas of broken coral rubble interspersed with outcrops of soft and stony corals. 

Etymology. The species is named after the red-robed and caped Sycorax warriors from the BBC sci-fi series Dr. Who, in showing similarities in both coloration and grandiloquence of their garb. The epithet sycorax is a noun in apposition.

 FIGURE 6. Synchiropus tudorjonesi, male aquarium specimen, collected from Bali, Indonesia. Specimen not retained; approximately 50 mm SL (Y.K. Tea).  

Tea, Yi-Kai and Anthony C. Gill. 2016. Synchiropus sycorax, A New Species of Dragonet from the Philippines (Teleostei: Callionymidae).
Zootaxa. 4173(1); 85–93.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4173.1.8

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