Description of a New Species of Pelagic Eelpouts Melanostigma japonicum sp. nova (Zoarcidae) from the Pacific Coast of South Japan with a Key for the Species of the Genus Melanostigma from the Pacific Ocean and the Adjacent Waters of the Indian and Southern Oceans

Abstract

A new species of Melanostigma japonicum sp. n. is described from the Tosa Bay (Southern Japan). The holotype of the species, previously identified as M. orientale, differs from the latter and other Melanostigma species by a unique structure of jaws with very large anteriorly protruding front teeth, an original combination of a number of meristic characters, coloration, and body proportions. M. flaccidum, previously placed in the synonymy of M. gelatinosum, is restored as the valid species. The issues of origin and historical dispersal of Melanostigma species are discussed. A key for identifying the species of this genus in the Pacific Ocean and in the adjacent waters of the Indian and Southern Oceans is provided.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In M. atlanticum, the maximum body length can reach 150 mm (Robin and Ray, 1986).

  2. 2.

    As shown by our recent studies (Balushkin and Moganova, 2017, 2018; Balushkin and Orlovskaya, 2019), M. gelatinosum species by M.E. Anderson is a combined taxon comprising several distinct species: M. flaccidum, M. gelatinosum, M. meteori, M. olgae, and M. kharini. All species are large: TL > 160 to 300 mm.

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Correspondence to A. V. Balushkin.

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Translated by D. Martynova

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Balushkin, A.V. Description of a New Species of Pelagic Eelpouts Melanostigma japonicum sp. nova (Zoarcidae) from the Pacific Coast of South Japan with a Key for the Species of the Genus Melanostigma from the Pacific Ocean and the Adjacent Waters of the Indian and Southern Oceans. J. Ichthyol. 59, 283–288 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0032945219030019

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Keywords:

  • Melanostigma japonicum sp. n.
  • pelagic eelpouts
  • taxonomy
  • Tosa Bay
  • Japan
  • northwest Pacific Ocean