Friday, December 29, 2017

[Ichthyology • 2017] A Revision of the Grunter Genus Syncomistes (Teleostei, Terapontidae) with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Kimberley region, northwestern Australia

Syncomistes versicolor 

Shelley, Delaval & Le Feuvre, 2017


The systematics of the genus Syncomistes Vari, 1978 endemic to freshwater habitats of remote northwestern Australia, is reviewed in light of recent collections in the region and a fine scale molecular study of the group that identified new taxa. Based primarily on external morphology, seven taxa are described as new: Syncomistes bonapartensis sp. nov., S. carcharus sp. nov., S. dilliensis sp. nov., S. holsworthi sp. nov., S. moranensis sp. nov., S. wunambal sp. nov. and S. versicolor sp. nov. The species complexes Syncomistes butleri Vari, 1978 and S. trigonicus Vari, 1978 are resolved and redescribed, and S. kimberleyensis Vari, 1978 and S. rastellus Vari & Hutchins, 1978 are redescribed based on juvenile and adult specimens. Finally, a neotype is provided for S. trigonicus sensu stricto in place of the destroyed holotype. Meristic and morphometric data are collected and analysed for the entire genus. Syncomistes have a broad range of meristic and morphometric character differences between species, and juveniles and adults, as well as variations in colour. The head, particularly feeding structures such as the jaw and dentition, were found to be the most important morphological features in discriminating between taxa. Some characters undergo distinct ontogenetic shifts in form, which are discussed. Of note, four of the new species, and seven from the entire genus, are narrow-range endemics, each found in single river systems, and are thus of conservation concern.

Keywords: Pisces, Cryptic species, sympatric, range-restricted, freshwater, biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics, neotype

• Syncomistes butleri Vari, 1978  
• Syncomistes kimberleyensis Vari, 1978  
• Syncomistes rastellus Vari & Hutchins, 1978 
• Syncomistes trigonicus Vari, 1978  

• Syncomistes bonapartensis, new species
English vernacular name: Lake Bonaparte Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name bonapartensis refers to the distribution of the species that is confined to drainages that once flowed into the paleolake, Lake Bonaparte.

• Syncomistes carcharus, new species
English vernacular name: Sharp-toothed Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name carcharus is Latin for sharp teeth, and refers to the robustpointed teeth of the species, relative to other Syncomistes.

• Syncomistes dilliensis, new species
English vernacular name: Dillie Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name dilliensis refers to the type locality, Dillie Gorge, on the Charnley River, Western Australia.

• Syncomistes holsworthi, new species
 English vernacular name: Holsworth’s Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name holsworthi honors Bill Holsworth whose foundation financed the expedition on which this species was found, as well as providing ongoing support for doctoral research into the ecology, management and natural history of Australian wildlife.

• Syncomistes moranensis, new species
English vernacular name: Moran Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name moranensis refers to the type locality, the Moran River, which is also the only known location of the species.

• Syncomistes versicolor, new species
English vernacular name: The Many-coloured Grunter.

Etymology: The specific name versicolor is Latin for many-coloured and refers to the distinct changes in the colour of the species at different stages in its ontogeny.

• Syncomistes wunambal, new species
 English vernacular name: Wunambal Grunter.

Etymology: Named wunambal, to be treated as a noun in apposition, for the Wunambal tribe and language group from the Mitchell River area, in which the fish is found.

James J. Shelley, Aurélien Delaval and Matthew C. Le Feuvre. 2017. A Revision of the Grunter Genus Syncomistes (Teleostei, Terapontidae) with Descriptions of Seven New Species from the Kimberley region, northwestern Australia. Zootaxa. 4367(1); 1–103.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4367.1.1

We discovered 20 new fish in northern Australia – now we need to protect them  @ConversationEDU

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