Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Trichonotus halstead, a new sand-diving fish from Papua New Guinea

  • Eugenie Clark
  • Mary Pohle
Full paper


Trichonotus halstead, family Trichonotidae, is described from 3 males and 4 females collected from a sand slope off the northwest end of Normanby Island, Papua New Guinea. It was part of a large population of 4 sympatric species of Trichonotus. The elaborately colored dorsal fin of the male, distinct among trichonotids, is brilliant gold anteriorly followed by a black patch, then a series of 8 to 40 conspicuous, black or dark brown spots that extend onto the upper caudal fin. The spines of the long dorsal fin are filamentous in the male and are numerous (VI to VIII, VII) in both sexes. This species lives in harems (1 male: 4 or 5 females) in well-defined territories and spends more than 80% of its day perched on sand. It feeds on benthic crustaceans and low drifting plankton. When disturbed, it dives into the sand where it also spends the night. It retires within 18 minutes after sunset and emerges within 11 minutes of sunrise. Mating takes place ∼ 6:00 h on the sand and the female then picks up the eggs into her mouth. There is evidence of gill-chamber brooding.

Key words

Trichonotidae Reproductive and diel behavior Harems Territories Populations Gill-chamber brooding 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Balon, E.K., 1990. Epigenesis of an epigeneticist: the development of some alternative concepts on the early ontogeny and evolution of fishes. Guelph Ichthyol. Rev. 1: 1–48.Google Scholar
  2. Clark, E., 1983. Life in an undersea desert. Nat. Geog. Mag. 164: 129–144.Google Scholar
  3. Clark, E. & K. von Schmidt, 1966. A new species of Trichonotus (Pisces, Trichonotidae) from the Red Sea. Bull. Sea Fish. Res. Sta., Haifa 42: 29–36.Google Scholar
  4. Clark, E., J.F. Pohle & D.C. Shen, 1990. Ecology and population dynamics of garden eels at Râs Mohammed, Red Sea. Nat. Geog. Res. Exploration 6: 306–318.Google Scholar
  5. Clark, E., M. Pohle & J. Rabin, 1991. Spotted sandperch dynamics. Nat. Geog. Res. Exploration 7: 138–155.Google Scholar
  6. Clark, E. & J.F. Pohle, 1992. Monogamy in tilefish. Nat. Geog. Res. Exploration 8: 276–295.Google Scholar
  7. Hubbs, C.L. & K.F. Lagler, 1947. Fishes of the Great Lakes Region. Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills. 186 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Mabee, P.M., 1988. Supraneural and predorsal bones in fishes: development and homologies. Copeia 1988: 827–838.Google Scholar
  9. Nelson, J.S., 1994. Fishes of the World. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 600 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Shimada, K. & T. Yoshino, 1984. A new trichonotid fish from the Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Japan J. Ichthyol. 31: 15–19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eugenie Clark
    • 1
  • Mary Pohle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkU.S.A.
  2. 2.BellevueU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations