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Chelonodontops alvheimi, a new species of pufferfish (Actinopterygii: Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from the Indian Ocean, with redescription of the rare pufferfish Chelonodontops leopardus (Day 1878)


A new pufferfish, Chelonodontops alvheimi, is described on the basis of three specimens (86–117 mm SL) collected from off Myanmar (Eastern Indian Ocean) in 2015. It is distinguished from congeneric species by its uniquely tapered body and slender caudal peduncle, its depth 7.4–7.8% SL. The new species is further distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: dorsal spinulation extending from internarial region to dorsal-fin origin, caudal-fin length 17.4–18.5% SL and fin coloration. The rare pufferfish, Tetrodon leopardus Day 1878, is redescribed in detail on the basis of two museum specimens, including a syntype housed at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Our examination has revealed that this pufferfish is referable to the genus Chelonodontops on the basis of the following characters: two lateral lines on the side of body, nasal organ with two divided flat skin flaps, and a weakly developed skin fold extending longitudinally on the ventro-lateral part of the head and body from the chin to the caudal-fin base. The taxonomic status of C. leopardus is clarified and morphological and color differences between it and the newly described species are outlined. A key to the species of Chelonodontops is provided.

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The EAF-Nansen Programme implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in close collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) provided us with the specimens of Chelonodontops collected on the R/V Dr. Fridtjof Nansen Myanmar survey. We offer our many thanks to Jens-Otto Krakstad and Oddgeir Alvheim (IMR) and to all the crew and people involved in the Myanmar Nansen survey. Sarah Dister and all staff from the FAO’s library are acknowledged for their help with bibliographic searches. We are grateful to A. Hay and M. McGrouther (AMS) for the loan of the syntype of C. leopardus and providing photographs of the syntype. K. Kuriiwa of NSMT made a photograph of the dorsal side of the holotype of C. alvheimi. We thank G. Duhamel and P. Pruvost (MNHN), H. K. Larson (NTM), Jeff Johnson (QM) and P. C. Heemstra (SAIAB) for loaning specimens. The first author (PNP) thanks the EAF-Nansen Programme for providing funding support. The second author (KM) thanks J. Maclaine and P. C. Campbell (BMNH), T. Kawai (HUMZ) and P. A. Hulley (SAM) for their hospitality during his visits to these museums. K. V. Zeena kindly provided a photograph of C. leopardus collected from Kerala, India. J. C. Tyler kindly provided comments on the manuscript. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript. This study was partially supported by JSPS Asian Core Program ‘‘Establishment of Research and Education Network on Coastal Marine Science in Southeast Asia.’’

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Correspondence to Peter N. Psomadakis.

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This article was registered in the Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (ZooBank) as D1473DF8-9D8C-4CC8-9079-3CB58B8EC7B5.

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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Psomadakis, P.N., Matsuura, K. & Thein, H. Chelonodontops alvheimi, a new species of pufferfish (Actinopterygii: Tetraodontiformes: Tetraodontidae) from the Indian Ocean, with redescription of the rare pufferfish Chelonodontops leopardus (Day 1878). Ichthyol Res 66, 49–56 (2019).

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  • Tetraodontidae
  • New species
  • Chelonodontops
  • Taxonomy
  • Redescription
  • Myanmar
  • Indian Ocean