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Chelidoperca pulchella and C. pollux, two new perchlet species (Serranidae) from the northwestern Pacific Ocean

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Two new perchlet species (Perciformes: Serranidae), Chelidoperca pulchella [3 specimens, 58.8–70.4 mm standard length (SL)] and Chelidoperca pollux (3 specimens, 68.1–72.3 mm SL), are described from Okinawa Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan and Nha Trang Bay, Vietnam, respectively. Both new species are morphologically similar to Chelidoperca flavimacula Psomadakis, Gon and Htut 2021, described from the northern Andaman Sea, but can be readily distinguished from other congeners by the presence of many yellow spots on the anal fin, and three [2 full-sized and 1 (uppermost) half-sized] scales from the dorsal-fin base mid-point to the lateral line. However, the former differ primarily from C. flavimacula in having fewer yellow spots on the anal fin (2 or 3 spots on each membrane between the 3rd to 6th soft rays in the new species vs. 3 or 4 in C. flavimacula), and a single row of mandibular scales extending anteriorly from the angular onto the ventral surface of the dentary (vs. scales restricted to the angular in C. flavimacula). Chelidoperca pulchella is readily distinguished from C. pollux, the former having interorbital scales extending anteriorly beyond the mid-orbit (vs. ending at the mid-orbit), a deeper body (depth at pelvic-fin origin 25.8–26.4% of SL vs. 23.5–24.1% of SL), longer head (length 39.0–39.4% of SL vs. 35.6–36.3% of SL), larger eyes (orbit diameter 13.5–14.1% of SL vs. 11.0–11.7% of SL), and longer pectoral fins (length 27.8–29.8% of SL vs. 24.7–26.4% of SL). Since mitochondrial COI sequences from the type specimens of C. pulchella closely matched that of a specimen from the Philippines, the species may have a widespread distribution on the upper continental slope from the Ryukyu Islands to the Philippines.

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We are grateful to P. Psomadakis (FAO) for providing raw data (counts and measurements) and photographs of C. flavimacula; K. Koeda (URIL), K. Miyamoto (OCF), M. Nakae (NSMT), P. Pruvost, Z. Gabsi and J. Pfliger (MNHN), E. Dondorp (RMNH/ZMA), and E. Aßel and P. Bartsch (ZMB) for providing opportunities to examine specimens; and N. Nakayama (BSKU) for generous assistance. K. Koeda also provided excellent photographs (when fresh) and tissue samples of the type specimens of C. pulchella sp. nov.; and E. Hata (KAUM) helped with DNA analysis. The first author is especially grateful to staff of MNHN, RMNH and ZMB for their kind hospitality during his stay at their institutions in 2022; and to H. Wada (The University Museum, The University of Tokyo) for assistance during specimen examinations in European museums. The second author is grateful to D.T.H. Yen (Vietnam-Russian Tropical Center) for help in obtaining specimens from Nha Trang Bay. We are grateful also to J.T. Williams (USNM) and anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments on the manuscript; 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, 21H03651 and 21K14905; 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 Mizuki Matsunuma.

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Fish species treated in this study are not listed as threatened or endangered by the IUCN Red List or CITES. Specimens registered in fish collections of natural history museums were used in the study. Newly-collected specimens were obtained following permission from local fisheries cooperatives.

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Matsunuma, M., Hoang, T.A., Tachihara, K. et al. Chelidoperca pulchella and C. pollux, two new perchlet species (Serranidae) from the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Ichthyol Res (2024).

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