fish in the ocean

Four new species of perchlets identified

6 October 2021

Four new species of perchlets identified

Chau Chak Wing Museum curator Dr Anthony Gill was the leader of a collaborative team of researchers recently highlighted by the CSIRO’s annual report about the 150 new species named in the past year.

Tony’s team identified four new species of perchlets, small rocky reef fishes. They were named as part of a study that reviewed all 22 species of the genus Plectranthias found in Australian waters: Plectranthias ferrugineus, P. grahami, P. mcgroutheri and P. moretonensis

The CSIRO report highlighted the importance of identifying, describing and naming Australia’s biodiversity. Other species newly identified included insects, a tree, orchids, a lizard, and a shark.

As well as the valuable contribution made towards understanding Australian biodiversity, some of the new species were given memorable names including a soldier fly named after RuPaul, flies named after areas affected by the recent bushfires and beetles named after Pokemon. P. mcgroutheri honours the life-time of work by ichthyologist Mark McGrouther.

Of the four new fishes identified by Tony’s team, three can be seen here (all photos by Tony).

Plectranthias grahami

Plectranthias grahami - the holotype and only known specimen (in the Australian Museum collection, collected off Bulli, NSW in 1975).

Plectranthias moretonensis

Plectranthias moretonensis - the holotype and only known specimen (in the Australian Museum collection, collected off Moreton Bay, Queensland in 1969).

Plectranthias mcgroutheri

Plectranthias mcgroutheri - the preserved holotype (in the Australian Museum, collected off Western Australia in 1982; one of 14 known specimens).

The Rusty Perchlet (Plectranthias ferrugineus) was described from 25 specimens up to 4 cm in length and occurs from off Dampier, Western Australia eastwards to the Arafura Sea, Northern Territory. The species name ferrugineus is derived from a Latin word for rust-coloured.

A new paper by Tony and the team on the new species was published earlier this year. Read the CSIRO annual report.

Banner image by Steve Halama.

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