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Okamejei panayensis sp. nov., a new skate (Rajiformes: Rajidae) from the Philippines

Abstract

A new hardnose skate, Okamejei panayensis sp. nov., is described from a single specimen [304 mm in total length (TL), adult male] collected off Iloilo, Panay Island, Philippines (Sulu Sea). The specimen conformed to the genus Okamejei in having a small body (less than 60 cm TL) and short snout (rostral cartilage less than 60% of dorsal head length), the tail with three rows of thorns and the clasper with a funnel. Among congeners, the new species is relatively similar to Okamejei boesemani (Ishihara 1987), Okamejei cairae Last, Fahmi and Ishihara 2010, Okamejei hollandi (Jordan and Richardson 1909), and Okamejei mengae Jeong, Nakabo and Wu 2007, all sharing black flecks scattered on the dorsal disc, and a “W-shaped” distal margin of ventral sensory pores. However, the former is uniquely distinguished by the following combination of characters: a small dark ring near the pectoral-fin insertion (posterior ocellus) absent (usually present in O. boesemani and O. cairae, sometimes present in O. hollandi); a dark ocellus on the pectoral axil absent (sometimes present in O. boesemani, usually present in O. cairae); black flecks on the dorsal disc surface sparsely scattered (forming patches in O. boesemani and O. cairae, densely scattered in O. hollandi and O. mengae); ventral surface mainly whitish (grayish or pale brown in O. boesemani, O. cairae, O. hollandi, and O. mengae); a shorter snout [preorbital snout length 13.7% TL (14.3–17.5% in O. boesemani, 14.5–17.2% in O. cairae, 13.9–16.1% in O. hollandi, 17.6% in O. mengae); preoral snout length 14.3% TL (14.3–18.2% in O. boesemani, 15.0–17.9% in O. cairae, 16.0–18.5% in O. hollandi, 18.0% in O. mengae); prenarial snout length 11.3% TL (12.0–14.7% in O. boesemani, 11.9–14.5% in O. cairae, 12.2–14.2% in O. hollandi, 14.9% in O. mengae)]; orbit diameter 127.4% of interorbital width (79.8–117.8% in O. boesemani, 86.5–134.3% in O. cairae, 93.3–120.7% in O. hollandi, 108.6% in O. mengae); interspiracular width 5.9% TL (6.0–7.2% in O. boesemani, 6.0–7.4% in O. cairae, 6.1–7.0% in O. hollandi, 6.4% in O. mengae); and 75 or 76 pectoral-fin radials (80–83 in O. boesemani, 80 or 81 in O. cairae, 79–85 in O. hollandi, 96 in O. mengae). In addition, mtDNA analyses supported the genetic uniqueness of the new species.

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Acknowledgments

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) 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 and Ocean Sciences, UPV, including 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, E. S. Delloro Jr., R. A. Cabebe, and graduate students of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UPV for their support of this research collaboration. We also greatly appreciate Y. Kai (FAKU), S. Kimura (FRLM) and Y. Hibino [Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human History (KMNH) formerly FRLM], H. Imamura, T. Kawai, and F. Tashiro (HUMZ), M. Matsunuma (FAKU, formerly KAUM) and other KAUM students, K. Matsuura, G. Shinohara, and M. Nakae (NSMT) for specimen loans and shipments, and assistance during the first author’s visits to their institutions. H. Ishihara (W&I Associates, Kanagawa, Japan), T. Naito (Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency, Niigata, Japan), and two anonymous reviewers gave helpful and constructive comments for improving the manuscript. G. S. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) critically reviewed the manuscript. Vietnamese specimens were collected with the support of the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (Haiphone) and the Ha Long Bay Management Department (Ha Long), with permission for the use of specimens granted by the Biodiversity Conservation Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Hanoi). 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 Ryo Misawa.

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Misawa, R., Babaran, R.P. & Motomura, H. Okamejei panayensis sp. nov., a new skate (Rajiformes: Rajidae) from the Philippines. Ichthyol Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-022-00874-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-022-00874-1

Keywords

  • New species
  • Hardnose skate
  • mtDNA
  • Panay Island
  • Sulu Sea