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Description of a new snake eel, Apterichtus hatookai sp. nov. (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), from the Pacific coast of Japan

Abstract

A new species of snake eel (family Ophichthidae, subfamily Ophichthinae), Apterichtus hatookai, is described based on the 478.5 mm holotype and three paratypes, 265.0–519.4 mm in total length (TL), collected from the Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of Shikoku Island and central Honshu Island, Japan. The new species can be distinguished from its congeners, except for Apterichtus monodi and Apterichtus orientalis, by having seven supratemporal pores. The new species is distinguishable from A. monodi by having a longer tail (60.4–62.0 % TL vs. 57.4–60.2 %), four preopercular pores (vs. three), fewer lateral-line pores before the anus (54–58 vs. 63–68), and fewer total vertebrae (137–141 vs. 142–151). Apterichtus hatookai differs from A. orientalis in having a shorter head (5.1–6.1 % TL vs. 7.1–8.1 %; 13.3–16.0 % of preanal length vs. 16.2–18.0 %), a longer tail (60.4–62.0 % TL vs. 54.8–56.0 %), lower body depth at gill opening (0.9–1.5 % TL vs. 1.8–1.9; 2.3–3.8 % of preanal length vs. 4.1–4.2 %), more numerous total vertebrae (137–141 vs. 131–133), and by the anterior tip of the lower jaw below the center of the eye (vs. anterior to a vertical through anterior margin of eye).

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Acknowledgments

We are deeply indebted to K. Hatooka (OMNH) for providing important photographs and references, and for his valuable suggestions; T. Hirata (Ehime Prefecture), S. Ohashi (HUMZ), and T. Tamai (IDEA consultants Inc.) for collecting the type specimens and providing photographs. We express our great gratitude to J. E. McCosker (CAS) for his help with the English, discussion about the new species, and his critical comments on the manuscript. We are grateful to H. Endo, N. Nakayama, R. Asaoka, and R. Misawa (BSKU); M. J. P. van Oijen and R. de Ruiter (RMNH) for their help in the examination of the type specimens and important references; J. E. Randall and A. Suzumoto (BPBM); H. Endo (BSKU); M. Yabe, H. Imamura, and T. Kawai (HUMZ); H. Senou (KPM); K. Matsuura, G. Shinohara, and M. Nakae (NSMT); K. Hatooka (OMNH); and J. T. Williams (USNM) for their help with the loan of specimens and providing underwater photographs.

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Correspondence to Yusuke Hibino.

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This article was registered in the Official Register of Zoological Nomenclature (ZooBank) as 08B93410-4CD6-4EAB-A546-224461D4F472.

This article was published as an Online First article on the online publication date shown on this page. The article should be cited by using the doi number.

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Hibino, Y., Shibata, Jy. & Kimura, S. Description of a new snake eel, Apterichtus hatookai sp. nov. (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), from the Pacific coast of Japan. Ichthyol Res 61, 317–321 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-014-0398-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-014-0398-7

Keywords

  • Ophichthidae
  • Apterichtus
  • New species
  • Japan
  • Pacific Ocean