Monday, February 15, 2021

[Ichthyology • 2020] Gymnothorax aurocephalus • A New White-spotted Moray Eel (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae: Muraeninae) from Andaman Sea, India

Gymnothorax aurocephalus Nashad, Mohapatra, Varghese & Bineesh 

in Nashad, Mohapatra, Varghese, Ramalingam, Bineesh & Mohanty, 2020. 

Gymnothorax aurocephalus sp. nov. is described herein based on 4 specimens. Three were collected from off Swaraj Dweep Island of Andaman and Nicobar Islands (A&N Islands) from a depth of 125–130 m and one specimen off Interview Island, A&N Islands at a depth of 90 m. This new species is distinguishable from its congeners by the following combination of characters: chocolate brown color overlain with small irregular white spots, golden skin shadings close to rictus; anus slightly before midbody; pointed and serrated jaw teeth; uniserial teeth in jaws and vomer; vertebral formula 7/61/148–149. The species is compared to all its congeners with white spots.

Keywords: Taxonomy, Anguilliformes, new species, Andaman Islands, Pisces

FIGURE 3. Gymnothorax aurocephalus sp. nov., holotype (EBRC/ZSI/11800; 723 mm TL).
A. Photograph of fresh specimen; B. Formalin-preserved specimen.

Gymnothorax aurocephalus Nashad, Mohapatra, Varghese & Bineesh sp. nov.
Common name: Goldenhead moray

Distribution. The specimen is presently known only from the holotype and three paratypes from Swaraj Dweep Island and Interview Island, Andaman Sea, India from a depth of 90–130 m depth.

Etymology. Gymnothorax aurocephalus is named for the golden-colored head of the species.

M. Nashad, Anil Mohapatra, Sijo P. Varghese, L. Ramalingam, Bineesh K. K. and Swarup Ranjan Mohanty. 2020. A New White-spotted Moray Eel, Gymnothorax aurocephalus sp. nov. (Muraenidae: Muraeninae) from Andaman Sea, India. Zootaxa. 4877(2); 361–372. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4877.2.8