A new species of sparid fish, Acanthopagrus oconnorae, is described based on 11 specimens collected in the shallow (0–1 m depth) mangrove-adjacent sandflats of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: second anal-fin spine 12.8%–16.6% of standard length (SL); 3½ scale rows between the fifth dorsal-fin spine and lateral line; suborbital width 5.7%–6.7% of SL; eyes positioned at the anterior edge of the head, often forming a weakly convex break in an otherwise gently curved head profile, when viewed laterally; caudal fin light yellow with black posterior margin (approximately half of fin); anal fin dusky grey, with posterior one-fifth of the fin light yellow; black streaks on inter-radial membranes of anal fin absent. The most similar species to A. oconnorae is Acanthopagrus vagus, which differs by the presence of a w-shaped anterior edge of the scaled predorsal area, a more acute snout and black streaks on the inter-radial membranes of the anal fin. Phylogenetic placement and species delimitation of A. oconnorae are discussed based on COI, CytB and 16S sequences. It is hypothesized that ecology and behaviour explain how this species avoided detection despite its likely occurrence in coastal areas of the Red Sea with historically high fishing pressure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Luiz Rocha and Dave Catania from the California Academy of Sciences for assistance with the deposition of the type specimens. We thank the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Bioscience Core Laboratory for sequencing support. We acknowledge Francesca Benzoni and Arthur Anker for their helpful discussions. We thank Sergey V. Bogorodsky, Senckenberg Research Institute and Museum of Nature (SMF), and one anonymous reviewer for valuable comments and revision suggestions. Financial support was provided by KAUST (baseline research funds to M.L.B.).
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
- new species
- Red Sea
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science