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Taxonomic review of the Neomerinthe bucephalus species group (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae), with description of a new species from Vanuatu

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Abstract

A taxonomic review of five scorpaenid nominal species included in the Neomerinthe bucephalus species group [Neomerinthe amplisquamiceps (Fowler 1938), Neomerinthe bucephalus (Alcock 1896), Neomerinthe kaufmani (Herre 1952), Neomerinthe megalepis (Fowler 1938), and Neomerinthe procurva Chen 1981], characterized by a lateral lacrimal spine, recognized four to be valid (N. amplisquamiceps, N. bucephalus, N. kaufmani, and N. megalepis), with N. procurva regarded as a junior synonym of N. bucephalus. A lectotype was designated for N. bucephalus in this study. The valid species, supported by a molecular analysis based on the mitochondrial marker Cytochrome c Oxidase subunit I, can also be identified from combinations of the following characteristics: numbers of pectoral-fin rays, scale rows in the longitudinal series, scale rows below the lateral line, and scale rows between the sixth dorsal-fin spine and lateral line, eleventh dorsal-fin spine length, caudal-peduncle length and depth, and body coloration. In addition, the new species Neomerinthe harenartis is described based on four specimens collected from Vanuatu. This species, also bearing a lateral lacrimal spine, is distinguished from other Indo-Pacific Neomerinthe by having 19 pectoral-fin rays, 47 or 48 scale rows in the longitudinal series, 6 or 7 scale rows above the lateral line, and body depth 31.0–32.8% of SL, and lacking a second preopercular spine. A key to species in the N. bucephalus species group is given.

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Acknowledgements

We are especially grateful to M. McGrouther, A. Hay, S. Reader, and K. Parkinson (AMS), H. Endo (BSKU), D. Catania (CAS), A. Graham, J. Pogonoski and W. White (CSIRO), F. Tashiro (HUMZ), P. Pruvost, R. Causse, Z. Gabsi, J. Pfliger, and P. Béarez (MNHN), H.-C. Ho (NMMB), C. Pollmann, A. Palandacic, B. Riedel, N. Bogutskaya, and E. Mikschi (NMV), M. Nakae and K. Fujiwara (NSMT), J. Johnson (QM), R. Bills, E. Heemstra, O. Gon and M. Dwani (SAIAB), T. Yoshino and K. Miyamoto (URM/OCF), J. Williams, L. Palmer, S. Raredon K. Murphy and D. Pitassy (USNM), S. S. Mishra (ZSI), and H. Wada (ZUMT) for specimen loans; N. Muto (Kitasato University) for assistance with molecular analysis; K. Wibowo (Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Bogor, Indonesia) gave advice on measuring, and B. Jeong (KAUM), helpful advice on writing the manuscript; volunteers, graduates and students of KAUM collected specimens and gave curatorial assistance; N. Nakayama (BSKU) gave valuable comments on the manuscript; and G. Hardy (Ngunguru, New Zealand) read the manuscript and provided help with English. The second author (HM) is grateful to P. Pruvost, Z. Gabsi, and C. Ferrara (MNHN) for their kind help during his visits to Paris in 2010–2015, supported by the Muséum National d′Histoire Naturelle. 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. Malaysian specimens were collected during the JSPS (the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan) Asian Core Program, “Establishment of Research and Education Network on Coastal Marine Science in Southeast Asia”, and the JSPS Core-to-Core Program: B Asia-Africa Science Platforms, supported by the Ministry of Higher Education (Government of Malaysia), University Putra Malaysia, and University Malaysia Terengganu. 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. This research is part of a dissertation by the first author. All authors agree with the article publication and dissertation submission.

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Matsumoto, T., Motomura, H. Taxonomic review of the Neomerinthe bucephalus species group (Teleostei: Scorpaenidae), with description of a new species from Vanuatu. Ichthyol Res 71, 13–39 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-023-00926-0

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