New Species of Jawfish Described

Opistognathus pardus hails from the western Indian Ocean.

Researchers William F. Smith-Baniz of the University of Florida and K.K. Bineesh and K.V. Akhilesh of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in India have described in Zootaxa, a new species of jawfish that resides in the western Indian Ocean. The fish, Opistognathus pardus, has a head that is covered with dark spots, and a yellowish coloration on the outer edge of the gill plate. The body is brown with a dusky orange-brown dorsal fin. Males are less than 4 inches in length. Female size has not yet been determined as the description was carried out on a single male of the species.

The fish was collected in Quilon town in the state of Kerala, India. There are 10 known species of jawfish from the western Indian Ocean, and a total of 39 species of Opistognathus fish are described coming fron the Indo-Pacific region. Four of those species are known to come from India or Sri Lanka, the same region as Opistognathus pardus.

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