Friday, July 12, 2019

[Ichthyology • 2019] Cirrhilabrus wakanda • A New Species of Fairy Wrasse (Teleostei, Labridae) from Mesophotic Ecosystems of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa

Cirrhilabrus wakanda 
 Tea, Pinheiro, Shepherd & Rocha, 2019

Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov. is described on the basis of the holotype and four paratypes collected between 50 and 80m depth over low-complexity reef and rubble bottoms at the east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa. The new species belongs to a group of fairy wrasses from the western Indian Ocean, sharing a combination of characters that include: short pelvic fins (not or barely reaching anal-fin origin); relatively unmarked dorsal and anal fins; males with a strongly lanceolate caudal fin (except in C. rubrisquamis); both sexes with a pair of prominent facial stripes above and below the orbit; and both sexes with prominent purple scales and osseus elements that persist, and stain purple, respectively, even in preservation. This group of fairy wrasse is part of a larger complex that includes related species from the western Pacific Ocean. In addition to meristic and morphometric comparisons, we also compare mitochondrial DNA sequence data to the aforementioned, putatively related species.

Keywords: Coral reefs, deep reefs, Indian Ocean, rebreather diving, reef fish

Figure 1. Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov., freshly euthanized male holotype (CAS 246395), 70.3 mm SL, male, collected at a depth of 75 m, east coast of Zanzibar, Africa (above). Note the pair of facial stripes above and below orbit. Photograph by H.T. Pinheiro and B. Shepherd. 

Figure 2. Paratypes of Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov., not to scale
A1 CAS 246397, 61.3 mm SL, male, freshly euthanized A2 CAS 246397, male in preservation B1 CAS 246398, 57.38 mm SL, female, freshly euthanized B2 CAS 246398, female in preservation C1 CAS 246399, 54.32 mm SL, female, freshly euthanized C2 CAS 246399, female in preservation.
 Photographs by H.T. Pinheiro and B. Shepherd (A1, B1, C1), and J. Fong (A2, B2, C2).

Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov.
 Vibranium fairy wrasse  

Diagnosis: Cirrhilabrus wakanda shares similar meristic characters to other members of this genus. However, it is readily distinguished from all other Cirrhilabrus in having the following combination of colouration and morphological characters: caudal fin strongly lanceolate in males; both sexes with a series of purple scales (in life and in preservation) arranged in a chain-link pattern across dorsal two-thirds of body.

Figure 4. Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov., in situ photographs at 75 m depth, in the east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa. Specimens not retained. Note intensity of yellow on the heads of males (A), transitioning males (B), and females (C). Photographs by L.A. Rocha. 


Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the fictional East African nation of Wakanda, home of the superhero Black Panther, as is the case for the new species, which has remained hidden from the world for a long time. To be treated as a noun in apposition. The common name refers to the fictional metal vibranium, a rare substance found on Wakanda that is woven into Black Panther’s suit. The purple chain-link scale pattern of the new species is reminiscent of this detail.

Distribution and habitat: Cirrhilabrus wakanda is presently known only from the east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. The species inhabits deep shelves consisting of small patch reefs dominated by rhodolith and sponge beds, at depths between 50 and 80 m.

Figure 5. A selection of Cirrhilabrus species from the western Indian Ocean group of the Cirrhilabrus jordani complex
Cirrhilabrus wakanda sp. nov., in situ photograph from the east coast of Zanzibar, Africa B Cirrhilabrus blatteus, in situ photograph from the Red Sea, off the coast of Eilat; C: Cirrhilabrus sanguineus, aquarium photograph of a specimen from Mauritius D Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis, aquarium photograph of a specimen from the Maldives.
Photographs by L.A. Rocha (A); E. Brokovich (B), and Y.K. Tea (C, D).

 Yi-Kai Tea, Hudson T. Pinheiro, Bart Shepherd and Luiz A. Rocha. 2019. Cirrhilabrus wakanda, A New Species of Fairy Wrasse from Mesophotic Ecosystems of Zanzibar, Tanzania, Africa (Teleostei, Labridae).  ZooKeys. 863: 85-96. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.863.35580  



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