Researchers in the Caribbean have discovered and described a new species of blenny that is about 2 centimeters in length and features irridescent fins. The blenny, Haptoclinus dropi was discovered in bycatch in about 157-167 meters of water off Curacao by the Smithsonian Institution’s Deep Reef Observation Project, or DROP. Its proposed common name is the four-finned blenny as its dorsal fin is divided into four sections, which makes it unique among blennies.
Haptoclinus dropi is the second species of the blenniform genus Haptoclinus. It is difference from Haptoclinus apectolophus in that it has a longer first dorsal spine and lacks scales. It also has 29 total dorsal-fin elements, 19 anal-fin soft rays, 12 pectoral-fin rays; and 12 precaudal vertebrae. It also has a pattern of spotting on the trunk and fins.
DROP explores tropical reef diversity off Curacao and is a 2011 and 2012 Smithsonian Grand Challenge Award project. Partial funding for DROP comes from the Consortium for Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet, National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
The full paper can be found on the Pensoft website.