Ichthyological Research

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 369–414 | Cite as

Review of Indo-Pacific dwarf lionfishes (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae) in the Dendrochirus brachypterus complex, with description of a new species from the western Indian Ocean

  • Mizuki Matsunuma
  • Hiroyuki Motomura
  • Sergey V. Bogorodsky


A taxonomic review of the Dendrochirus brachypterus complex resulted in the recognition of five species, including Dendrochirus barberi (Steindachner 1900), Dendrochirus bellus (Jordan and Hubbs 1925), Dendrochirus brachypterus (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes 1829), Dendrochirus hemprichi sp. nov. and Dendrochirus tuamotuensis Matsunuma and Motomura 2013. The complex is defined as having usually 9 dorsal-fin soft rays, usually 5 anal-fin soft rays, 17–20 (rarely 20) pectoral-fin rays, no ocellated spots on the soft-rayed portion of the dorsal fin and usually 2 (sometimes none) barbels on the snout tip. Dendrochirus barberi, known from the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll, is characterized by usually 18 pectoral-fin rays, a relatively high number of scale rows in the longitudinal series (modally 51 vs. 39–49 in other species) and mottled markings on the pectoral fin in large specimens. Dendrochirus bellus, restricted to the northwestern Pacific Ocean from the South China Sea north to southern Japan, is characterized by usually 17 pectoral-fin rays, a relatively low number of scale rows in the longitudinal series (modally 38 vs. 44–51 in other species), and the absence of skin flaps on the orbit surface and uppermost preopercular spine base. Dendrochirus tuamotuensis, recorded only from the Tuamotu Archipelago, is characterized by 19 pectoral-fin rays, the posterior margin of the pectoral fin strongly notched, and a relatively shallow and narrow head and body. Dendrochirus hemprichi sp. nov. is distributed in the western Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea. Although previously confused with a closely related congener (D. brachypterus, known from the northern and eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific), D. hemprichi can be distinguished from the former by having fewer scale rows between the last dorsal-fin spine base and lateral line, and between the sixth dorsal-fin spine base and lateral line [4–7 (5) in D. hemprichi vs. 5–7 (6) in D. brachypterus, in both cases], a slightly greater interorbital width at the mid-orbit [5.5–10.7 (mean 7.8) % SL vs. 4.5–8.9 (6.8) % of SL] and at preocular spine base [4.4–9.1 (6.6) % SL vs. 3.5–7.8 (5.7) % of SL], and slightly shorter posteriormost (usually 13th) dorsal-fin spine length [11.8–19.9 (15.3) % SL vs. 13.3–21.3 (17.2) % of SL]. Moreover, D. hemprichi tends to have relatively more spinous points on the head spines and ridges, compared with D. brachypterus. Notwithstanding the morphological similarity between the two species, an obvious genetic difference was observed between D. hemprichi and D. brachypterus. Dendrochirus chloreus Jenkins 1903 and Dendrochirus hudsoni Jordan and Evermann 1903 were synonymized under Pterois barberi, as in some previous studies. Scorpaena koenigii Bloch 1789 was regarded as conspecific with D. brachypterus, which it predated. However, the former name should be suppressed under Reversal of Precedence.


Taxonomy Synonyms Morphology Distribution Scorpaena koenigii 



We are especially grateful to S. Chiba (formerly NSMT) for instructing the first author in molecular analysis, and also to M. McGrouther, A. Hay and S. Reader (AMS); K.-T. Shao, Y.-C. Liao and M.-Y. Lee (ASIZP); H. Endo (BSKU); A. Graham (CSIRO); Y. Kai, F. Tashiro, N. Nakayama (FAKU) and T. Nakabo (formerly FAKU); K. Swagel (FMNH); S. Kimura and Y. Hibino (FRLM); M. Yabe, H. Imamura and T. Kawai (HUMZ); students and volunteers of KAUM; H. Senou (KPM); P. Pruvost, R. Causse, Z. Gabsi, C. Ferrara and P. Béarez (MNHN); Y. Iwatsuki (MUFS); M. Gomon and D. Bray (NMV); A. Palandacic (NMW); K. Matsuura, G. Shinohara, M. Nakae, K. Kuriiwa, E. Katayama and F. Tanaka (NSMT); I.-S. Chen (NTOU); K. Hatooka (OMNH); C. Aungtonya (PMBC) and U. Satapoomin (formerly PMBC); R. Bills and O. Gon (SAIAB); T. Alpermann, H. Zetzsche (SMF) and F. Krupp (formerly SMF); K. Hoshino and M. Okamoto (SNFR); T. Yoshino and Y. Sakurai (formerly URM); J. Williams (USNM); S. Morrison (formerly WAM); Y. Kaji (WMNH); K. Hagiwara (YCM) and M. Hayashi (formerly YCM); P. Bartsch and C. Lamour (ZMB); R. Thiel and I. Eidus (ZMH); and K. Sakamoto (ZUMT) for their kind hospitality during the first author’s visits to their institutions. We are indebted to J. Sparks (AMNH), M. Sabaj Pérez (ANSP), A. Suzumoto (BPBM), D. Catania (CAS), D. Golani (HUJ), G. Dally (NTM), J. Johnson (QM), R. Winterbottom and H. López-Fernández (ROM) and D. Nelson (UMMZ) for providing opportunities to examine specimens, and thank H. Endo, A. Graham, E. Heemstra (SAIAB) and A. Ryanskiy (Moscow) for providing photographs of specimens. T. Malkerova assisted in the organization of a trip to Dahab, Sinai Peninsula. M. Itou, Y. Haraguchi and M. Takayama, and students and other volunteers of KAUM helped with curatorial assistance and collection of specimens. We are grateful also to H.-C. Ho (NMMB) and Y. Sakurai for donating specimens, S. Poss (CAS) and G. Mou-tham (IRD) for providing information on the New Caledonian record of D. bellus, R. Misawa for providing literature, and G. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) for reading the manuscript and providing help with English. This study was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP26241027, JP24370041, JP23580259, and JP26450265; JSPS Fellow (PD: 16J00047); the JSPS Core-to-Core Program, “Research and Education Network on Southeast Asian Coastal Ecosystems”; the “Coastal Area Capability Enhancement in Southeast Asia Project” of the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan; the “Biological Properties of Biodiversity Hotspots in Japan” project of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan; and “Establishment of Research and Education Network on Biodiversity and Its Conservation in the Satsunan Islands” project of Kagoshima University, adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mizuki Matsunuma
    • 1
  • Hiroyuki Motomura
    • 2
  • Sergey V. Bogorodsky
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Marine Biology, Faculty of ScienceKochi UniversityKochiJapan
  2. 2.The Kagoshima University MuseumKagoshimaJapan
  3. 3.Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  4. 4.Station of NaturalistsOmskRussia

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