|Gymnothorax tamilnaduensis |
Kodeeswaran, Kantharajan, Mohapatra, Ajith Kumar & Sarkar, 2023
Gymnothorax tamilnaduensis sp. nov., a new species of short brown unpatterned moray, is described, based on four specimens ranging from 272–487 mm total length collected from the trawl bycatch landings at Mudasalodai fish landing centre, off Cuddalore coast, Tamil Nadu, southeast coast of India. The new species is distinguished by the following combination of characters: origin of dorsal fin at middle of rictus and gill opening, anus just before mid-body, series of lines of small dark spots present on head and a single line of black spot-on mid-line of body, jaw pores with white rim, anal-fin margin whitish, 3 pre-dorsal vertebrae, 56–59 pre-anal vertebrae and 139–150 total vertebrae. The new species differs from its known Indian water congeners by having series of lines of small dark spots present on the head and a single line of black spots on the mid-line of the body (vs. absent in all the three congeners in India), serrated teeth (vs. smooth), jaw pores with white rim (vs. black to brown in others) and higher vertebral count (139–150 vs. 134–138 in others). Our morphological and molecular analyses show that the new species forms a distinct clade from its congeners and these data support the status as a new species.
Key Words: Elopomorpha, molecular analyses, Tamil Nadu, unpatterned moray
Gymnothorax tamilnaduensis sp. nov.
Proposed common name: Tamil Nadu brown moray
Diagnosis: A new species of a short brown unpatterned moray eel with the following combination of characters: series of lines of small dark spots present on head and a single line of black spots on mid-line of body, origin of dorsal fin at middle of rictus and gill opening, anus just before mid-body, pre-anal length 45.7–47.4% TL, snout blunt and very short, 6.5–7.7 mm in HL, eye small, teeth serrated, uniserial, ethomovomerine teeth five on each side with one tooth on mid-point, vomerine with eight teeth in a series, jaw pores with white rim, anal-fin margin whitish, 3 pre-dorsal vertebrae, 56–59 pre-anal vertebrae, 139–150 total vertebrae.
Distribution: Indian Ocean: off Cuddalore Coast, Bay of Bengal, southeast coast of India. The species were collected at a depth of about 25–30 metres.
Etymology: The species is named “tamilnaduensis” with reference to the state Tamil Nadu from where it was collected.
Paramasivam Kodeeswaran, Ganesan Kantharajan, Anil Mohapatra, T. T. Ajith Kumar and Uttam Kumar Sarkar. 2023. A New Short Brown Unpatterned Moray Eel (Anguilliformes, Muraenidae) from the southeast coast of India, Bay of Bengal. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 99(1): 253-260. DOI: 10.3897/zse.99.100461