Gymnothorax odishi sp.

Mohapatra, Anil, Mohanty, Swarup Ranjan, Smith, David G., Mishra, Subhrendu Sekhar & Roy, Sanmitra, 2018, Gymnothorax odishi sp. nov. (Muraenidae: Muraeninae), a short brown unpatterned moray eel from Bay of Bengal, India, Zootaxa 4420 (1), pp. 123-130: 124-126

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Gymnothorax odishi sp.


Gymnothorax odishi sp.  nov.

Proposed common name: Odisha moray ( Figures 1–4View FIGURE 1View FIGURE 2View FIGURE 3View FIGURE 4, Table1)

HolotypE. ZSI F 12592 /2 [690 mm total length (TL)], Gopalpur beach, Odisha, India, date of collection: 19 January 2018. 

ParatypES. ZSI F 12593 /2 (420 mm TL), EBRC /ZSI/F 9482 (522 mm TL), F9483 (423 mm TL), F9484 (602 mm TL), F9485 (522 mm TL), F9486 (650 mm TL), F9487 (500 mm TL), F9488 (550 mm TL), F9489 (696 mm TL), F9490 (700 mm TL), date and place of collection: same as holotype.

DiagnoSiS. This new species belongs to the small brown unpatterned group of moray eels, with the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin origin before gill opening, jaw pores with dark rim, small black patch just behind eye of about eye size or larger, gill opening with dark rim, two branchial pores, predorsal vertebrae 4, preanal vertebrae 55–58 and total vertebrae 133–138, three large fang-like median intermaxillary teeth, uniserial maxillary and vomerine teeth. Dentary biserial with one tooth in each side in the second row of dentary.

DESCription. A medium-sized, uniform brown moray with moderately elongate body, depth at gill opening 11.5–18.4 and at anus 17.3–24.0 in TL. Preanal length 1.9–2.1 in TL. Head small 6.7–7.6 in TL; snout short and blunt, its length 4.3–5.4 in HL; jaws almost equal, 2.2–2.8 in HL. Eye large, located slightly closure to rictus than the snout tip, eye diameter 8.6–10.8 in HL; interorbital space 6.0– 7.9 in HL ( Table 1). Anterior nostril a moderately broad tube, posterior nostril above anterior margin of eye. Pre-dorsal length 8.4–10.8 in total length. Dorsal-fin origin closer to rictus than to gill opening but before gill opening and well before and above the 1 st branchial  pore. Anal fin starts from anus. Both dorsal and anal fins high. Gill opening at mid-side in a small diagonal slit. Teeth smooth, uniserial; outer intermaxillary teeth 4–8 in each side; median intermaxillary teeth 3, strong, curved, placed almost equidistance from each other; maxillary teeth uniserial, 12–14 on each side; vomerine teeth uniserial with 5–6 teeth; lower jaw with outer row of 20–24 teeth on each side and 1 inner tooth on each side near anterior end ( Fig. 2 View Figure ). Head pores typical, supraorbital pores 3; infraorbital pores 4; mandibular pores 6–7; branchial pores 2, located above and before gill opening ( Fig. 3 View Figure ). All head pores in dark rim. Predorsal vertebrae 4, preanal vertebrae 55–58 and total vertebrae 133–138.

Colour. When fresh, body brown; upper and lower jaw and portion upto gill with yellow patches ( Fig. 1 View Figure & Fig.4 View Figure ) which disappear immediately after preservation; small black patch just behind the eye of about eye size or more, gill opening with dark rim; rictus dark, fins dark; eye ring whitish, jaw pores with dark rim. When preserved, body uniformly brown, eye ring white.

DiStribution. Presently known only from Gopalpur-on-Sea, on the southernmost part of the Odisha coast of India in the Bay of Bengal.  

Etymology. The species is named “ odishi  ” on the name of the state Odisha, from where the specimens were collected.