Description of a new species of the genus Neenchelys (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae, Myrophinae) from the eastern Indian Ocean, with comments on the availability of three congeners


A new worm eel, Neenchelys nudiceps, is described on the basis of a single large specimen (782 mm in total length) collected from the deep-sea bottom (844–856 m) off Sumatra, Indonesia, in the eastern Indian Ocean. The new species is distinguishable from its congeners by the following combination of characters: total vertebrae 221, mandibular pores 7, lateral-line pores anterior to pectoral-fin base 18, and upper and lateral surfaces of snout smooth without papillae. Additionally, it is indicated by a statistical analysis that the new species differs from the two similar species, Neenchelys daedalus and Neenchelys sp. “similis”, in morphometric characters. Availability of the three recently described congeners, N. diaphora, N. pelagica and N. similis is discussed, and it is judged that the three species names are unavailable.

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The authors deeply appreciate the help of the following persons: Toshio Kawai (Hokkaido University Museum) and the members of JDSTA (Japan Deep Sea Trawlers Association), OFCF (Overseas Fishery Cooperation) and RIMF (Research Institute for Marine Fisheries, Indonesia); the crew of the R/V Baruna Jaya IV for the procurement of the holotype of Neenchelys nudiceps; Renny Kurnia Hadiaty (MZB) and Teguh Peristiwady (LIPI) for the registration of the holotype in MZB; Atsushi Fukui and Munehiro Takami (Tokai University), Seishi Kimura (FRLM), Makoto Okada (Mie Prefecture Fisheries Research Institute), Takashi P. Satoh and Satoru Chiba (NSMT), and Keita Koeda (KAUM, formerly University of the Ryukyus) for the procurement of the comparative materials; Mark McGrouther (AMS), Hiroyuki Motomura (KAUM) and Shinichi Tomiyama (MSM) for the loan of the specimens; Gento Shinohara and Masanori Nakae (NSMT), and Mamoru Yabe (HUMZ) for the opportunity to examine their specimens; Martin F. Gomon (NMV) for critically reading an early draft of the manuscript with English correction; and the two anonymous referees for providing valuable comments. Finally, we are sincerely thankful to Hsuan-Ching Ho (NMMB) for valuable discussion and providing information on his study.

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Correspondence to Fumihito Tashiro.

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This article was registered in the Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (ZooBank) as F504E2EA-EA66-4878-912D-B4EC619FED9B.

This article was published as an Online First article on the online publication date shown on this page. The article should be cited by using the doi number.

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Tashiro, F., Hibino, Y. & Imamura, H. Description of a new species of the genus Neenchelys (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae, Myrophinae) from the eastern Indian Ocean, with comments on the availability of three congeners. Ichthyol Res 63, 53–58 (2016).

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  • New species
  • Ophichthidae
  • Neenchelys
  • Deep sea
  • Indonesia