Journal article Open Access

Revision of the jawfish genus Lonchopisthus with description of a new Atlantic species (Teleostei: Opistognathidae)

Smith-Vaniz, William F.; Walsh, Stephen J.

Synonymies, diagnoses, descriptions, illustrations, an identification key, and meristic frequency tables are provided for all species of Lonchopisthus. Most of the skeletal anatomy of L. higmani is also illustrated. A new jawfish, Lonchopisthus ancistrus n. sp., is described from the Gulf of Mexico and off Honduras based on 21 specimens 41–89 mm SL. The new species differs from other congeners by the following combination of characters: the posterior end of the maxilla strongly hooked; the membrane connecting the maxilla and premaxilla and the inner membrane covering the posterior part of the dentary pale; segmented dorsal-fin rays 11–13, with unbranched rays 2–5; longitudinal body-scale rows 33–39; and very long pelvic fins, 39.4–75.3% SL. Lonchopisthus lemur (and its synonym L. meadi) shares most characters with L. ancistrus, but differs in having shorter pelvic fins, 19.2–29.9% SL; fewer longitudinal body-scale rows, 26–33; and 5 infraorbitals (vs. 4). Both are relatively deep-water species, occurring from 100 m to at least 375 m (vs. 3–139 m in the other species). Lonchopisthus micrognathus is unique in having no branched caudal-fin rays at any size and the middle caudal-fin rays with free tips that may be used to maintain tactile contact with the substrate while hovering over its burrow. The western Atlantic Lonchopisthus higmani and eastern Pacific L. sinuscalifornicus are sister species that differ from the other Atlantic species in having the posterior end of the maxilla with a notch instead of a strong hook, the opercle with a large dark blotch, and one supraneural (vs. no supraneural).

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