Review of the Ostichthys japonicus complex (Beryciformes: Holocentridae: Myripristinae) in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with description of a new species

  • Mizuki Matsunuma
  • Yoshino Fukui
  • Hiroyuki Motomura


A taxonomic review of the northwestern Pacific Ocean members of the Ostichthys japonicus complex (Holocentridae: Myripristinae), defined by 3.5 scale rows between the lateral line and spinous dorsal-fin base, recognized three valid species: Ostichthys alamai sp. nov., Ostichthys hypsipterygion Randall, Shimizu and Yamakawa 1982 and Ostichthys japonicus (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes 1829). Ostichthys alamai, based on 10 specimens (118–179 mm SL) from Panay Island, the Philippines and Sulawesi, Indonesia, is similar to O. hypsipterygion in having longitudinal rows of white spots laterally on the body, but has 17 or 18 (modally 17) pectoral-fin rays [vs. 15 or 16 (15) in the latter], the last dorsal-fin spine fused to the first dorsal-fin soft ray (vs. spine and ray separated), and no white blotch on the pectoral-fin base (vs. white blotch present). It differs from O. japonicus, also occurring in the Philippines, in having relatively longer dorsal- and anal-fin spines, a greater number of well-developed long spinules on the body scales, and rows of white spots laterally on the body (vs. generally absent). Detailed comparisons of O. alamai with other members of the complex are made, and revised diagnoses given for O. hypsipterygion and O. japonicus. Ostichthys sheni Chen, Shao and Mok 1990 and Holotrachys major Whitley 1950 are both regarded as junior synonyms of O. japonicus.


Ostichthys alamai Ostichthys hypsipterygion Ostichthys sheni Holotrachys major Diagnosis 



We are deeply grateful to: K. Eguchi (formerly KAUM) for sharing his early study on the O. japonicus complex, and S. Ishikawa (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto) and R. P. Babaran (University of the Philippines Visayas) for leading and managing the Philippines surveys; T. Yoshida, S. Tashiro, B. Jeong, H. Hata, S. Chungthanawong, T. Inaba and K. Wibowo (KAUM), K. Koeda and A. Yoshiura (formerly KAUM) and other students and volunteers of KAUM for their contributions to the Philippines surveys and curatorial assistance; A. Suzumoto, L. O’Hara, J. Randall, H. Randall and R. Pyle (BPBM) for their kind hospitalities during the first and second authors’ research in Oahu; G. Shinohara, M. Nakae and K. Kuriiwa (NSMT) for their kind hospitalities during the first authors’ stay at their institute; M. McGrouther and S. Reader (AMS), L. O’Hara and A. Suzumoto (BPBM), H. Imamura (HUMZ), H. Senou (KPM), H.-C. Ho (NMMB), U. Alama (UPVM) and K. Miyamoto (Okinawa Churashima Research Center, Okinawa) for providing opportunities to examine specimens; M. McGrouther, A. Hay and S. Reader (AMS) and S. Smith and J. Williams (USNM) for registration of the paratypes of O. alamai; H. Imamura, K. Kuriiwa and J. Randall for providing photographs of specimens; K. Fujiwara (KAUM) for examining the paratype of O. sandix; Y. Takigawa for providing literature; R. Fricke (Lauda-Königshofen, Germany) for sharing his knowledge of Ostichthys; P. Psomadakis (FAO) and anonymous reviewers for providing constructive comments on this study; and G. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) for reading the manuscript and providing help with English. Vietnamese specimens were collected with the support of the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (Haiphong) and the Ha Long Bay Management Department (Ha Long), and permission for their use was given by the Biodiversity Conservation Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Hanoi). This study was conducted under a Memorandum of Agreement for joint research made by and among the Department of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines (DA), the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), the Kagoshima University Museum, the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, and Tokai University, facilitated by S. L. Sanchez [Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), DA]. P. J. Alcala (DA) provided a Prior Informed Consent Certificate, and I. P. Cabacaba and S. M. S. Nolasco (BFAR, DA) provided a fish specimen Export Certificate (No. 2016-39812). We thank the staff of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension, UPV, and UPV Museum of Natural Sciences, College of Fisheries, UPV, including R. P. Babaran, S. S. Garibay, U. B. Alama, V. G. Urbina, L. H. Mooc, C. J. N. Rubido, E. P. Abunal, A. M. T. Guzman, R. S. Cruz, A. C. Gaje and R. F. M. Traifalgar, and graduate students of the College of Fisheries, UPV, for their support of this research collaboration. This study was supported in part by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP19770067, JP26241027, JP24370041, JP23580259 and JP26450265; a Grant-in-Aid from JSPS Research Fellow (PD: 16J00047); the JSPS Core-to-Core Program: B Asia-Africa Science Platforms; 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 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Marine Biology, Faculty of ScienceKochi UniversityKochiJapan
  2. 2.The United Graduate School of Agricultural SciencesKagoshima UniversityKagoshimaJapan
  3. 3.The Kagoshima University MuseumKagoshimaJapan

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