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Review of the Indo-West Pacific pipefish genus Urocampus (Syngnathidae), with descriptions of two new species


The Indo-West Pacific genus Urocampus Günther 1870 (Syngnathidae) is diagnosed by the following combination of characters: continuous superior trunk and tail ridges, the inferior trunk ridge ending at the anal ring, lateral trunk ridge confluent with the inferior tail ridge, pectoral and anal fins present, the dorsal-fin origin at the 5th–10th tail rings, caudal fin small or vestigial, and dermal flaps usually present on the head and body. A taxonomic review of the genus resulted in the recognition of six species, including two new species: Urocampus carinirostris Castelnau 1872 (distributed in southeastern Australia), Urocampus coelorhynchus Günther 1873 (eastern Australia; previously regarded as junior synonym of U. carinirostris), Urocampus guentheri Duncker 1909 (Western and South Australia; previously regarded as junior synonym of U. carinirostris), Urocampus nanus Günther 1870 (China, Korea and Japan), Urocampus paucianulus sp. nov. (eastern Australia and Papua New Guinea), and Urocampus yaeyamaensis sp. nov. (southern Ryukyu Islands, Japan). Urocampus rikuzenius Jordan and Snyder 1901, previously regarded as a junior synonym of U. nanus, is also herein identified as U. nanus. A neotype for U. guentheri was designated in this study.

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We are especially grateful to K. Shibukawa (SPMN), and Y. Yamamoto and Y. Sakamaki (Kagoshima University) for providing the opportunity for this study. We are very grateful to A. Hay, S. Reader, and M. McGrouther (AMS), O. Crimmen and J. Maclaine (BMNH), A. Graham and J. Pogonoski (CSIRO), H. Yoshigou (HMNH), H. Senou (KPM), P. Pruvost, R. Causse, Z. Gabsi, and J. Pfliger (MNHN), M. Nakae (NSMT), J. Johnson (QM), J. Williams, S. Raredon, K. Murphy, L. Palmer, D. Pitassy, S. Smith, and E. Wilbur (USNM), K. Miyamoto (URM/OCF), G. Moore and M. Allen (WAM), K. Shibukawa (SPMN), and T. Suzuki (OMNH) for opportunities to examine specimens of Urocampus. We also thank the students and volunteers of KAUM for curatorial assistance, N. Nakayama (Tokai University) for valuable comments, 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 20H03311 and 21H03651; the JSPS Core-to-Core CREPSUM JPJSCCB20200009; and the “Establishment of Glocal Research and Education Network in the Amami Islands” project of Kagoshima University adopted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.

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Correspondence to Hiroyuki Motomura.

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Araki, M., Motomura, H. Review of the Indo-West Pacific pipefish genus Urocampus (Syngnathidae), with descriptions of two new species. Ichthyol Res (2022).

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  • Morphology
  • Taxonomy
  • Distribution
  • Japan
  • Australia