Ichthyological Research

, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 327–346 | Cite as

Pterois paucispinula, a new species of lionfish (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae) from the western Pacific Ocean

  • Mizuki Matsunuma
  • Hiroyuki Motomura
Full Paper


A new species of lionfish (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae), Pterois paucispinula sp. nov., is described on the basis of 37 specimens from the western Pacific Ocean. The new species is closely related to and has been previously confused with Pterois mombasae (Smith 1957), both species sharing usually XIII, 10 dorsal-fin rays, usually more than 18 pectoral-fin rays, numerous black blotches on the pectoral-fin membrane, and several bands on the posterior portion of the pectoral-fin rays (free from membrane). However, P. paucispinula differs from similarly sized P. mombasae in having a lesser body depth at the anal-fin origin, head width, postorbital length, and caudal-peduncle depth, in addition to a slightly higher number of scale rows below the lateral line. Pterois paucispinula also differs from the typical form of P. mombasae, occurring off the east coast of Africa and in the central Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea, by having usually 18 pectoral-fin rays (vs. usually 19 in the latter) and relatively long dorsal-fin spines, with the longest dorsal-fin spine length 42.9–51.7 % of standard length (SL) (vs. 35.1–44.8 % of SL). Although a Sri Lankan population of P. mombasae is similar to P. paucispinula in the above characters (usually 18 pectoral-fin rays and longest dorsal-fin spine length 37.5–51.1 % of SL), such differences among P. mombasae are regarded as intra-specific geographical variations. Additionally, young and adult P. mombasae have ctenoid scales on the pectoral-fin base, ventrolateral portion of the body (below the lateral line) and laterally on the caudal peduncle. These regions in all examined P. paucispinula usually have only cycloid or at most a few ctenoid scales, thereby providing a consistent basis for identification of both species, including the Sri Lankan population of P. mombasae. Pterois mombasae is distributed in the Indian Ocean from the east coast of Africa to the Andaman Sea, whereas P. paucispinula is recorded from the western Pacific Ocean, from northern Australia to southern Japan and eastward to the Wallis and Futuna Islands.


Pterois mombasae Pteropterus Geographic variation Distribution 



We are deeply grateful to M. McGrouther, A. Hay and S. Reader (AMS); K.-T. Shao, Y.-C. Liao and M.-Y. Lee (ASIZP); J. Maclaine and O. Crimmen (BMNH); H. Endo, T. Yamakawa, N. Nakayama (BSKU) and E. Katayama (formerly BSKU); T. Nakabo, Y. Kai, A. Tokairin (FAKU) and N. Muto (formerly FAKU); K. Swagel (FMNH);M. Yabe, H. Imamura, T. Kawai (HUMZ); H. Senou (KPM); R. Causse (MNHN); Z. Arifin, R. Pratiwi, M. Adrim, I. Alhakim and K. Wibowo (NCIP); H.-C. Ho (NMMB); M. Gomon and D. Bray (NMV); K. Matsuura and G. Shinohara (NSMT); I.-S. Chen (NTOU); K. Hatooka (OMNH); U. Satapoomin (PMBC); T. Alpermann, H. Zetzsche (SMF) and F. Krupp (formerly SMF); T. Yoshino (formerly URM); J. Williams (USNM); P. Bartsch and C. Lamour (ZMB); and K. Sakamoto (ZUMT) for their kind hospitality during the first author’s visits to their institutions. We are indebted to D. Catania (CAS), A. Suzumoto (BPBM), T. Noichi (CMNH), R. Feeney (LACM) and R. Bills (SAIAB) for providing opportunities to examine specimens. We especially thank S. Chiba (NSMT) for instructing the first author in molecular analysis and also T. Yoshida (KAUM) for providing specimen data, Y. Sakurai (Okinawa Prefecture, Japan), S. Koizumi (URM), K. Koeda (formerly URM) and H.-C. Ho (MNHB) for donating specimens, M. Aizawa (BLIH) and H. Endo for providing photographs of fresh P. paucispinula, Y. Haraguchi, students and other KAUM volunteers for curatorial assistance and sampling specimens, and G. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) for reading the manuscript and providing help with English. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers and editors for their helpful suggestions. This study was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A: 26241027, B: 24370041 and C: 23580259 and 26450265) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan (JSPS), JSPS Asian Core Program “Establishment of Research and Education Network on Coastal Marine Science in Southeast Asia”, JSPS International Training Program “Protect Diversity of Bioresources in the Tropical Area”, the Coastal Area Capability Enhancement in Southeast Asia Project of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan, and the “Biological Properties of Biodiversity Hotspots in Japan” project of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan, and by grant awarded to the first author from the Mikimoto Fund for Marine Ecology.

Supplementary material

10228_2014_451_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 44 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seikai National Fisheries Research InstituteNagasakiJapan
  2. 2.The Kagoshima University MuseumKagoshimaJapan

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