Ecsenius shirleyae, Victor G. Springer & Gerald R. Allen, 2004

Victor G. Springer & Gerald R. Allen, 2004, Ecsenius caeruliventris and E. shirleyae, two new species of blenniid fishes from Indonesia, and new distribution records for other species of Ecsenius., Zootaxa 791, pp. 1-12 : 8-9

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Ecsenius shirleyae

new species

Ecsenius shirleyae View in CoL   ZBK , new species

Shirley’s blenny

Figures 1d, 2b, 3

Ecsenius bandanus   ZBK (not Springer), in part: Springer, 1988:106, fig. 57, pl.13, fig. 5; Kuiter & Tonozuka, 2001:606 (Maumere, Flores); Allen & Adrin, 2003:54 & 18, fig. 65 (Maumere, Flores) ; Myers, 1999:224 & pl. 146K.

Holotype: USNM 211996, male, 28.4 mm SL, off NW side of Pulau Tikus, Pulau Pari group, Pulau Seribu, Indonesia (ca. 05°51’25" S, ca. 106°34’15" E), to ca. 5 m, rotenone, V.G. Springer, M.F. Gomon, & Sukarno, 5 April 1974; VGS 74-34.

Paratypes: USNM 379409 (15:15.6-33.5) and WAM P32602.001 (2: 22.2-29.1), collected with holotype . AMS I.18490001 (10:17.3-28.6), Tallabassi Bay, just off NW shore of Big Damalawa Islet, Kabaena Island, Celebes, Indonesia (ca. 05°17’20" S, ca. 122°04’ E), 4-8 m, rotenone, V.G. Springer, M.F. Gomon, & Indonesians, 24 February 1974, VGS 74-1 . USNM 211916 (14:22.5-29.2, includes one specimen now lost), Tallabassi Bay, just off NE tip of Big Damalawa Islet, Kabaena Island, Celebes, Indonesia (ca. 05°17’20" S, ca. 122°04’ E), 2-15 m, rotenone, V G Springer, M. F. Gomon, & Indonesians, 25 February 1974, VGS 74-2 . USNM 211993 (18:13.3-29.2), off W side of Pulau Ajer, Pulau Seribu, Indonesia (ca. 05°46’ S, ca. 106°35’ E), to ca.19 m, rotenone, V.G. Springer, M.F. Gomon, & Sukarno, 4 April 1974; VGS 74-32 . USNM 211979 (11:23.7-31.2), off SW coast Karimundjawa Island, Indonesia, ca. 05°52’30” S, 110°25’40” E, ca. 1-12 m, rotenone, V.G. Springer & Indonesians, 29 March 1974, VGS 74-28 .

Additional specimen: AMS I.34501010 (1:15.6), off Wailiti, 11 km NW Sao Wisata Resort, Flores, Indonesia, 08°34.3’ S, 122°11.7’ E.

Diagnosis. A species of the Prooculis   ZBK group of Ecsenius   ZBK with the following combination of characters: Body without alternating dark and pale stripes or distinct dark spots; head with dark postorbital stripe extending across head onto body anteriorly. In life, dark postorbital stripe bordered ventrally by bright white stripe; other bright markings on head white or pale yellowish; belly bluish.

Description (only differentiating characters or characters not otherwise mentioned in the introduction, identification key, and Table 1 are discussed). Preserved specimens (Figure1d) are most notable for the black stripe extending across the head posteriorly from the postorbital margin at about the three o’clock position. The stripe may extend for a variable, usually short, distance, onto the body anteriorly. On each side of the ventral surface of the head of the male holotype there are two pairs of dark spots similar to those of E. caeruliventris   ZBK , although the halo is not evident (presence or absence of the spots varies in other males). The body is not so darkly dusky anteriorly as in E. caeruliventris   ZBK . The fins are similar to those of E. caeruliventris   ZBK , except that an immaculate stripe-like basal area in the segmented-ray portion of the dorsal fin is not evident. Females are generally more pale than males, and the dark spots on the ventral head surface are absent or replaced by one or two pairs of larger, pale spots (Figure 1c) in the positions occupied by the dark spots of the male.

In life (Figure 2b), the most obvious color markings are the bluish abdominal area, a horizontal pair of white stripes extending through the orbit dorsal and ventral to the pupil, a pair of small white spots in the interorbital region anteriorly, a fine, white mid-predorsal stripe (all of these white stripes may be very faintly tinged with yellow), the black stripe extending posteriorly from the orbit margined ventrally by a bright white stripe, which continues well out onto the body. The head and body are brownish dorsal to the black stripe, and may show indications of a few broad, slightly darker bands anteriorly; posteriorly the body is similar to E. caeruliventris   ZBK .

Comparisons. Within the Prooculis   ZBK group, Ecsenius shirleyae   ZBK appears to be most similar to E. bimaculatus Springer   ZBK , from which it differs mainly in lacking the two black abdominal spots and in that some individuals have a bluish abdomen. It is similar to E. caeruliventris   ZBK and E. bandanus   ZBK in having a bluish abdomen (at least in some specimens), in having broad, faintly dusky bands on the body, and in lacking distinct dark spots or stripes on the entire body. It differs from both species in having a dark postorbital stripe that frequently extends well out onto the body and in having the stripe margined below by a white stripe that also extends well out onto the body. It further differs from E. caeruliventris   ZBK in that the blue of the abdomen is not as strongly manifested, and from E. bandanus   ZBK in that the pale markings on the head and eye are bright white (or very faintly tinged with yellow) rather than bright yellow, and that the head portion of the dark post-orbital stripe is generally less deep (depth measurement is difficult because margins of the stripe are not sharply demarcated, but the difference is usually apparent when specimens of equal size are compared).

Etymology: This species is named for my (VGS) wife, Shirley, in recognition of her unstinting support for my research for the past almost 40 years.


USA, Washington D.C., National Museum of Natural History, [formerly, United States National Museum]


Australia, Western Australia, Perth, Western Australian Museum


Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, Australian Museum











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