Ichthyological Research

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 339–352 | Cite as

Taxonomic revision of the Equulites elongatus (Günther 1874) species group (Perciformes: Leiognathidae) with the description of a new species

  • Hiromu Suzuki
  • Seishi Kimura
Full Paper


Taxonomic analysis of a group of morphologically similar and phylogenetically related ponyfishes (Perciformes: Leiognathidae) establishes the Equulites elongatus species group comprising three valid species: Equulites aethopos sp. nov., currently known only from southern Red Sea; Equulites elongatus (Günther 1874), known from northern Australia, Indonesia and Myanmar; and Equulites popei (Whitley 1932), known from Japan, Philippines, Malaysia (Sabah), Thailand (Gulf of Thailand), Oman, the Red Sea, and Mozambique. Although E. popei has previously been regarded as a junior synonym of E. elongatus, the present mitochondrial DNA analysis revealed that these two nominal species are different and that they constitute a monophyletic group separate from other species of Equulites. The E. elongatus species group can be defined by the following of characters: slender body (20–30% in standard length), deeply incised posterior margin of the adipose eyelid, and ventral surface of breast completely scaly. Equulites aethopos sp. nov. differs from the other two species in having smaller eyes (eye diameter 53–68% of postorbital head length vs. 78–137%) and tips of neural and hemal spines of the fourth preural centrum distinctly expanding (vs. slightly expanding). Equulites elongatus is distinguished from E. popei by: scales above and below the lateral line 5–9 and 9–14, respectively (vs. 8–13 and 12–19), anus anteriorly located (distance from the pelvic-fin insertion to the center of anus 30–42% of the distance from the pelvic-fin insertion to the anal-fin origin vs. 35–50%), and more numerous dorsolateral dark marks (1–9 ring marks and 0–14 dark spots smaller than a half of pupil diameter vs. 0–2 and 0–5).


Leiognathidae Equulites aethopos sp. nov. Equulites elongatus Equulites popei Molecular phylogeny 



We are most grateful to the following persons and institutions for the loan or donation of specimens: M. McGrouther and S. Reader (AMS); J. Maclaine (BMNH); A. Graham (CSIRO); P. Psomadakis (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations); D. Golani (HUJ); T. Peristiwady (Indonesian Institute of Sciences); H. Motomura (KAUM); H. Senou (KPM); G. Duhamel, P. Pruvost and R. Causse (MNHN); Y. Iwatsuki (MUFS); L. A. Jawad (New Zealand); E. Mikschi and H. Wellendorf (NMW); K. Matsuura, G. Shinohara and M. Nakae (NSMT); Y. Sakurai (Okinawa Environmental Research Co., Ltd); U. Satapoomin (formerly of PMBC); P. Heemstra and E. Heemstra (SAIAB); A. B. Arshad (Universiti Putra Malaysia); J. T. Williams and S. Raredon (USNM); S. Morrison (WAM); M. Hayashi and K. Hagiwara (YCM). We thank the students of FRLM, especially Y. Hibino and R. Matsuo, for their cooperation in field collections, D. Sasaki and S. Takeuchi (formerly of FRLM) for advice on molecular analysis, I. Kobayashi and staff of the Life Science Research Center, Center for Molecular Biology and Genetics (Mie University), for nucleotide sequences, and P. V. Dunlap (University of Michigan) for his critical comments on a draft of the manuscript and his assistance with English. This study was supported in part by JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) KAKENHI Grant Numbers 23570114 and 16K07840 awarded to the second author, and by the Asian Core Program and the Core-to-Core Program (CCore-RENSEA) of JSPS.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Research LaboratoryMie UniversityShimaJapan

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