Upeneus elongatus, Uiblein & Motomura, 2021

Uiblein, Franz & Motomura, Hiroyuki, 2021, Three new goatfishes of the genus Upeneus from the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, with an updated taxonomic account for U. itoui (Mullidae: japonicus-species group), Zootaxa 4938 (3), pp. 298-324: 304-310

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Upeneus elongatus

n. sp.

Upeneus elongatus   n. sp.

Elongate Goatfish

Iwanaga-himeji (new standard Japanese name)

( Figures 1B, C View FIGURE 1 , 2 View FIGURE 2 ; Tables 2, 3)

Upeneus   sp.: Tashiro et al. 2014

Material examined. Holotype. KAUM–I. 58746, 89 mm SL, Philippine Sea, S Japan, Kagoshima Prefecture, Osumi Islands, Tanega-shima Island, Kumage-gun , Nakatane , off Kumano , 30°28.13’ N, 130°58.32’ E, 25 m, set net, Mayumi Takayama, 20-01-2012 (photo of fresh holotype, Figure 1B, C View FIGURE 1 ) GoogleMaps  

Unvouchered In situ photos of Upeneus cf. elongatus   , Central Philippines, Visayas (most probably all adults): Panay , Caridad , Culasi , Antique, 11°26.89’ N, 122°03.55’ E, 7 m depth ( Figure 1G View FIGURE 1 ); GoogleMaps   Leyte, Albuera, 10°53.45’ N, 124°42.36’ E, 20 m depth ( Figure 1H View FIGURE 1 ); GoogleMaps   Negros, Bonbonon, Siaton, 9°03.53’ N, 123°05.97’ E, 10 m depth ( Figure 1I View FIGURE 1 ); same locality, 7 m depth ( Figure 1J View FIGURE 1 ) GoogleMaps   .

Diagnosis. Dorsal fins VII + 9; pectoral fins 13; gill rakers 8 + 19–20 = 27–28; body elongate and laterally compressed; measurements as % SL: depth at first dorsal-fin origin 21; body depth at anal-fin origin 18; caudalpeduncle depth 8.3; caudal-peduncle width 3.3; maximum head depth 18; head depth through eye 14; head length 27; snout length 10; orbit length 6.7; upper-jaw length 11; barbel length 17; caudal-fin length 29; anal-fin height 16; pelvic-fin length 23; pectoral-fin length 21; first dorsal-fin height 20, dorsal-fin spines proportionally decreasing in height; second dorsal-fin height 15; total oblique bars on caudal fin 12, upper caudal-fin lobe with 5 red bars; lower caudal-fin lobe with 7 red-brown blotch-like bars which are most conspicuous along middle of lobe and dorsally with a faint yellowish-beige stripe of less than orbit diameter in width that connects to caudal-fin base; bars mostly retained after preservation; first dorsal fin with large yellowish-beige triangular patch close to fin base covering central part of ventral half of fin; a similarly coloured, but much smaller patch at middle of second dorsal-fin base; barbels white when fresh; body and head colour in freshly deceased fish pale greyish dorsally and mostly red below eye level except for pale-grey snout region; ventral margin of head and body silvery white; a vermillion mid-lateral body stripe from snout tip through eye to middle of caudal-fin base; body and head pale brown, mid-body darkened when preserved.

Description. Measurements in % SL and counts are given in Table 3; morphometric data as ratios of SL for holotype: body elongate and laterally compressed, body depth at first dorsal-fin origin 4.9; body depth at anal-fin origin 5.5; head depth through eye 6.9; head length 3.7, much larger than maximum body depth and subequal to caudal-fin length (3.5); first dorsal-fin height 4.9, larger than barbel length (6.0) and second dorsal-fin height (6.6); pelvic-fin length 4.4, larger than pectoral-fin length (4.8) and body depth at first dorsal-fin origin; caudal-peduncle depth 12, distinctly larger than orbit length (15); and caudal-peduncle width 31, much smaller than pectoral-fin width (23).

Colour. Fresh HT ( Figure 1B, C View FIGURE 1 ). Body with all scales missing, pale greyish dorsally above eye level with tiny dark-brown dots scattered along dorsal margin from below second dorsal fin to caudal-fin base; also, with a few tiny, similar-coloured dots further ventrally between first dorsal-fin origin and middle of second dorsal fin base; broad vermillion stripe of pupil diameter from behind eye to middle of caudal-fin base a; series of about 20 oblique red bands separated by thin silvery lines ventrally of stripe behind pectoral-fin base; few red blotches along ventral margin of posterior half of body partly overlapping with the oblique bands and white-silvery ventral side of body; head pale grey anterior to eye, with a weak red stripe from snout to eye of about half pupil width, stripe continues behind eye as mid-lateral body stripe; cheek below eye red and opercle region silvery white with red blotches; iris red; barbels white; caudal fin with five oblique, mostly straight brown bars of about half pupil width on upper lobe, with white hyaline interspaces between bars increasing in width from being narrower than bars proximally to more than double-bar width distally; tip of upper caudal-fin lobe white hyaline; lower caudal-fin lobe with seven redbrown blotch-like bars which are most conspicuous along middle of lobe becoming mostly hyaline towards lobe margins, with narrow hyaline-white interspaces; the two proximal bars only very weakly indicated by fine streaks on two ventral-most fin rays fusing dorsally into a single dark brown bar, followed distally by a weakly indicated red spot composed by three short streaks on two adjacent fin rays along middle of lobe; four more conspicuous red spots further distally, two as wide as pupil, positioned mainly along middle of fin lobe and tip; dorsal part of lobe with a yellowish-beige stripe of less than orbit diameter, extending from central caudal-fin base to tip of lower caudal-fin lobe, covering nearly entire lobe distally and surrounding the two distal-most red blotches; first dorsal fin with a triangle-shaped patch of yellowish-beige skin, of about snout length in its maximum extension, patch connecting fin base and second to sixth spine, covering central part of ventral half of fin, except for the first spine; first dorsalfin spine with four or five weakly indicated brown dots, spine tip unpigmented; second to third spine with brown pigmentation close to tip (second spine however broken), spines otherwise pale; second dorsal fin with four weakly indicated pale brown stripes and a yellowish-beige patch, similarly coloured as patch on first dorsal fin but much smaller, at middle of fin base between fourth and fifth spine; pectoral, pelvic and anal fins hyaline whitish, pelvic fins pale yellowish white at base.

Preserved HT. Head and body mostly pale brown, head in front of eyes, belly and underside of body pale beige; a brownish mid-lateral band wider than orbit diameter along body from behind opercle to caudal-fin base, becoming thinner behind second dorsal-fin base and then widening again close to caudal-fin base; tiny scattered dark-brown dots along dorsal body margin from below second dorsal fin to caudal-fin base and, just above dark mid-body band between dorsal fins; lower half of opercle silvery white; bar pigmentation on caudal fin mostly retained; stripe on lower caudal-fin lobe lost as well as most of dorsal-fin pigmentation except for a few traces distally on first dorsal fin and at mid and further distally on second dorsal fin; other fins and barbels pale.

Etymology. The name “ elongatus   ” refers to the elongate, very shallow body and head of this species. The standard Japanese name Iwanaga-himeji has two meanings: (1) “elongate goatfish”; (2) “goatfish of goddess Iwanaga”, sister of the myth goddess Sakuya, whose grandchild is considered to be the first Emperor of Japan. Accordingly, the standard Japanese name for the rather similar U. itoui   is Sakuya-himeji.

Distribution, habitat, size. Known only from a single locality in S Japan, Tangea-shima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture; occurs on shallow sandy bottoms (25 m depth); attains at least 89 mm SL. This species may also occur in the central Philippines (see also Remarks below).

Remarks. Upeneus elongatus   most likely also occurs in the Philippines as indicated by unvouchered in situ photos of shallow-bodied goatfish specimens with very similar colour patterns on caudal and dorsal fins ( Figure 1 View FIGURE 1 G–H). However, the body colour in those specimens differs considerably from the fresh HT from S Japan, which may be due to the absence of scales in the HT. Until preserved specimens with scales intact associated with colour photographs of fish in fresh condition become available for comparative studies, we refer to this form as U. cf. elongatus   .