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A new species of Odontanthias Bleeker (Perciformes: Serranidae: Anthiinae) from Mona Passage off Puerto Rico, the first record of the genus from the Atlantic Ocean.


Randall & Heemstra (2006) reviewed the anthiine serranid genus Odontanthias Bleeker, 1873, considering it to include 13 Indo-Pacific species, two of which were new to science, and described a new anthiine genus, Meganthias. They (2006: 2) noted that: "The generic classification of the fishes of the Anthiinae has been very confused, and this is certainly true for Odontanthias and related genera." Based on morphology the genera most closely related to Odontanthias would appear to be Holanthias (with which it has been frequently synonymized) and Meganthias. Randall & Heemstra (2006: 4) distinguished Odontanthias from Holanthias on the basis of the shape of the caudal fin ("deeply emarginate with rounded lobes to lunate with slender, sometimes filamentous lobes" in Odontanthias vs. "near-truncate to rounded or rhomboid ... with a long slender lobe in the ventral part of the fin of one of the species" in Holanthias) and the absence of accessory scales on the body scales of species of Odontanthias (although present "on the head and nape of a few species") vs. "numerous accessory scales on the body scales of Holanthias."

In the diagnosis presented in the original description of Meganthias, Randall & Heemstra (2006) wrote that their new genus had the characters of Odontanthias except for a number of morphological differences, the most important of which would seem to be anal soft rays 8 or 9 and the presence of accessory scales ("dense on head and nape," Randall & Heemstra 2006: 27) in Meganthias vs. anal soft rays 7 or 8 (usually 7) and the absence of accessory scales on the body ("but may be present on head and nape of some species," p. 4) in Odontanthias.

The new species becomes the fourteenth species of Odontanthias to be described, represents the first record of the genus outside of the Indo-Pacific region and is the twenty-third anthiine species recorded from the Atlantic Ocean.


Methods are those of Anderson & Heemstra (1980), as modified by Anderson et al. (1990) and Anderson & Baldwin (2000). Abbreviations include: SL (standard length), UPRM (University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez) and USNM (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.).

Odontanthias hensleyi n. sp.

Euripos Jewelfish

(Fig. 1; Table I)

Holotype: USNM 400888, 155 mm SL, male; western North Atlantic, Mona Passage, off west coast of Puerto Rico, 18[degrees]07' N, 67 [degrees]40' W; 185 fathoms (338 meters); collected by Eugenio Pineiro Soler and Miguel A. Vargas, 20 July 2004.

Paratypes: UPRM 3793, 162 mm SL, & UPRM 3794, 159 mm SL; Mona Passage, 18[degrees]24' N, 67[degrees]40' W; 188 fathoms (344 meters); 12 August 2005. UPRM 3809, 157 mm SL; Mona Passage, NE of Desecheo Island (Desecheo Island at 18[degrees]23' N, 67[degrees]28' W); 188 fathoms (344 meters); 10 August 2005. All paratypes collected by Eugenio Pineiro Soler and Miguel A. Vargas.

Diagnosis: A species of Odontanthias distinguishable from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters. First three soft rays of pelvic fin produced, second reaching past base of anal fin to well past base of caudal fin. Caudal fin with upper and lower lobes produced into long filaments. Dorsal spines not produced and without long filamentous projections. No filamentous dorsal and anal soft rays. Vomerine tooth patch subquadrangular to diamond-shaped, without posterior prolongation. Dorsal fin rays X, 15. Pectoral fin rays 18. Lateral line scales 33 to 38. Side of head with two bright yellow stripes; pelvic, anal and caudal fins bright yellow.

Description: Morphometric data are in Table I. Data for countable characters follow; values for the holotype are indicated by asterisks for characters having variable counts (for characters that can be examined only by radiography, the values are those of the holotype).

Table I. Morphometric data for Odontanthias hensleyi n. sp. Holotype
USNM 400888; Para I = Paratype, UPRM 3809; Para II = Paratype, UPRM
3794; Para III = Paratype, UPRM 3793. Standard lengths in mm, other
measurements in percentages of standard length. Dam. = damaged;
> = slightly damaged.

Character                Holotype    Para I    Para II   Para III

Standard length                155       157        159        162

Head, length                  36.4      35.4       34.8       35.2

Snout, length                  7.4       6.6        6.9        7.6

Bony orbit, diameter          11.6      11.8       11.2       11.0

Postorbital head length       17.3      16.9       15.9       15.5

Upper jaw, length             19.1      17.9       17.7       18.1

Maxilla width                  7.1       6.2        7.3        7.1

Lower jaw, length             20.8      18.2       20.0       20.1

Bony interorbital              9.3       8.2        8.7        8.4

Body, depth                   41.6      39.0       42.2       40.8

Body, width                   16.1      18.4       18.0       17.5

Predorsal-fin length          34.9      34.0       34.1       34.7

Preanal-fin length            63.6      63.7       66.5       67.2

Prepelvic-fin length          37.7      36.7       37.6       37.3

Caudal peduncle, length       24.4      25.5       23.0       24.4

Caudal peduncle, depth        13.8      12.5       13.4       12.8

Dorsal fin, base length       58.9      57.5       60.1       56.1

Anal fin, base length         18.1      16.3       18.5       16.6

Anal fin, length              37.5      34.9       37.7       33.7

Pectoral fin, length          40.4      35.5       43.8       36.1

Pelvic fin, length            79.9      67.8      >65.9   ca. 60.7

Pelvic spine, length          18.2      17.3       17.9       17.0

Upper caudal lobe             85.8  ca. 76.9      >73.4       Dam.

Lower caudal lobe             84.5      Dam.      >75.3      >65.8

1st dorsal spine               5.9       6.8        5.3        5.8

2nd dorsal spine               9.7       9.1        9.7        8.0

3rd dorsal spine              11.5      10.5       10.7       10.1

4th dorsal spine              13.6      12.8       11.9       10.9

Longest dorsal spine     10th-14.0  9th-13.9   5th-12.2   4th-10.9

1st dorsal soft ray           16.5      15.5       15.5       14.7

Last dorsal soft ray          14.2      14.1      >12.3       14.1

Longest dorsal soft ray  10th-28.4  9th-28.6  10th-27.0  10th-25.0

1st anal spine                 7.1       6.1       Dam.        5.4

2nd anal spine                13.0      12.5       11.6       10.8

3rd anal spine                13.5      14.4       Dam.       11.5

Longest anal soft ray     4th-25.9  4th-22.6   4th-21.3   4th-21.5

Dorsal fin rays X, 15. Anal fin rays III, 7. Pectoral fin rays 18. Pelvic fin rays I, 5. Caudal fin rays: principal 15 (8 + 7); branched 13 (7 + 6); procurrent 8 dorsally, 8 ventrally. Branchiostegal rays 7. Gill rakers on first arch 13* or 14 + 28 to 30 (29*) (total 42* or 43). Tubed lateral line scales 33* to 38 (35*). Rows of cheek scales ca. 7* or 8. Rows of scales between lateral line and mid-base of spinous dorsal fin 1.5* or 2. Scales between dorsal fin origin and lateral line 3 or 4*. Scales between anal fin origin and lateral line 12* to 14. Circumpeduncular scales 16* to 18. Vertebrae 26 (10 precaudal + 16 caudal). First caudal vertebra without parapophyses. Formula for configuration of supraneural bones, anterior neural spines and anterior dorsal pterygiophores 0/0/2/1 + 1/1/ (using notation of Ahlstrom et al. 1976). Pleural ribs 8, on vertebrae 3 through 10. Epineurals associated with first 11 vertebrae. No trisegmental pterygiophores associated with dorsal or anal fins. No spur on posteriormost ventral procurrent caudal-fin ray (see Johnson 1975); penultimate ventral procurrent caudal fin ray not shortened basally. Parhypural with hypurapophysis. Autogenous hypurals 5, no hypural fusions. Epurals 3.

Mouth terminal, oblique; premaxillae protrusile; lower jaw usually exceeding upper jaw slightly with mouth closed. Supramaxilla apparently present (due to dense squamation on upper jaw, presence difficult to determine with certainty). Labial border of maxilla with or without hook (see Anderson et al. 1990: 926, fig. 2); holotype: right maxilla with very short hook, left without hook; on one paratype (UPRM 3793), hook absent but maxilla widened on both sides at point where hook would occur; on second paratype (UPRM 3794) hook present on left side, shelf and short anterior projection from shelf present on right side; on third paratype (UPRM 3809) hook present on each side. Posterior border of maxilla truncate; maxilla reaching posteriorly to vertical through posterior border of pupil to as far as vertical through posterior border of orbit. Anterior and posterior nares close to eye and to each other, internarial distance 7 to 13 times in snout length; anterior naris in short tube, posterior border of tube not reaching posterior naris when reflected; posterior naris oval, much larger than anterior naris, with long axis of oval running dorsoventrally. Interorbital space convex. No fleshy papillae on border of orbit. Preopercle without antrorse spines on horizontal limb; horizontal limb with one to a few serrae or with irregular border; vertical limb with numerous small serrae; region of angle with larger serrae, or with roughened border. Distal margins of interopercle and subopercle smooth, or with few small serrae near their junction or in places somewhat roughened. Premaxilla with series of conical teeth laterally and band of villiform teeth medially; at anterior end of jaw one or two canine(s) adjacent to patch of very small teeth; symphysis edentate. Dentary with 1 to 3 recurved canine(s) about one-fourth to one-third way back from anterior end of jaw; anterior to recurved canine(s) patch or band of villiform to very small conical teeth; posterior to recurved canine(s) series or band of small conical teeth extending along jaw; exserted canine at anterior end of jaw; symphysis edentate. Vomer, palatines, endopterygoids and tongue with small teeth; vomerine tooth patch subquadrangular to diamond shaped, without posterior prolongation; palatine and endopterygoid teeth in longitudinal patches (endopterygoid teeth not seen on two of paratypes, UPRM 3793 & 3809).

Lateral line complete, anteriorly ascending above pectoral fin base to run parallel to dorsal body contour a few scale rows ventral to base of dorsal fin, then descending precipitously ventral to posterior end of soft dorsal fin to run posteriorly near middle of caudal peduncle and terminating at distal end of hypural bones. Tubes in lateral line scales mostly simple, a few scales on holotype and one of paratypes (UPRM 3809) with distally branched tubes. Scales ctenoid with only marginal cteni, i. e., no ctenial bases present proximal to marginal cteni (see Hughes 1981; this type of scale called peripheral ctenoid by Roberts 1993). No secondary squamation on body, but a few accessory scales present on head. Most of head, including dorsum of snout, interorbital region, maxilla and dentary covered with scales. Lips, lateral aspect of snout, lachrymal, gular region, branchiostegals and branchiostegal membranes without scales. Spinous dorsal fin without scales; soft dorsal and anal fins with scales basally and with columns of scales on some interradial membranes; pectoral and pelvic fins scaly basally and for some distance out onto fins; most of caudal fin heavily covered with scales. Pelvic axillary scales poorly developed or absent; scales in ventral midline between pelvic fin bases (interpelvic process) well developed.

Dorsal and anal spines without long filaments. Anal fin truncate posteriorly; second anal spine more robust than first or third. Pectoral fin nearly symmetrical, middle rays longest, reaching posteriorly to vertical through middle of base of soft dorsal fin; dorsalmost pectoral fin ray unbranched, other pectoral-fin rays branched. Pelvic fin inserted beneath pectoral fin base; first three pelvic soft rays produced, second longest, reaching past base of anal fin to well past base of caudal fin. Caudal fin lunate with very long filamentous lobes; upper lobe 2.1 to 2.4 times as long as head, lower lobe 1.9 to 2.3 times as long as head.

Coloration: Description based on color photographs of holotype (except where noted) (Fig. 1). Head mostly reddish orange dorsally and laterally, yellowish ventrally (one paratype mainly red anterior to orbit, mostly violet posterior to orbit, mostly white ventrally). Head with two wavy bright yellow stripes; dorsal stripe running from near midorbit to posterior margin of opercle, ventral stripe extending from below anterior part of orbit (from near anterior end of snout in paratype) to base of pectoral fin; short yellow band on upper jaw near its anterior end. Iris of eye with bright yellow circle of pigment surrounding pupil; peripheral to yellow, circle of red, then semicircle of dull purple, then semicircle of red (paratype similar but with semicircle of bright blue anteriorly). Dorsally body mostly reddish orange with numerous yellow blotches; laterally alternating horizontal silvery and reddish orange (or yellowish) lines ventral to lateral line; ventrally pale; caudal peduncle mostly yellow. Dorsal fin yellow green suffused with red (red anteriorly, blue posteriorly on paratype); pectoral fin dull orange (not seen clearly on paratype); pelvic, anal and caudal fins bright yellow.

Comparisons: Based on data and illustrations provided by Randall & Heemstra (2006), O. hensleyi differs from all but two of the described species of Odontanthias in having 15 soft rays in the dorsal fin, whereas six described species have 14 or fewer, and five have 16 or more. It differs from the other two described species of the genus in having 18 pectoral fin rays, whereas those two have 17 or fewer. Also, it differs from most other Odontanthias in having the vomerine teeth in a subquadrangular to diamond-shaped patch without a posterior prolongation, in contrast to a variety of shapes in those other species (see Randall & Heemstra 2006: 8, fig. 1). In addition O. hensleyi can be distinguished from other Odontanthias by the following combination of characters: pelvic fin reaching past base of anal fin to well past base of caudal fin; upper and lower lobes of caudal fin produced into long filaments; head with two bright yellow stripes on side; and pelvic, anal and caudal fins bright yellow (compare Fig. 1, herein, with figs 4 & 5 and plates I-VI in Randall & Heemstra 2006).

Sexuality: Histological examination of gonadal tissue shows the holotype of O. hensleyi to be a male. Where investigated histologically and/or behaviorally many species of anthiines have been found to be protogynous. Consequently, it would not be surprising to learn that this species is protogynous.

Distribution: All four specimens of O. hensleyi were collected in Mona Passage, the strait between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic leading from the open Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea.

Remarks: Due to the unsettled state of the higher classification of teleosts, we have taken a conservative approach and retained the Serranidae in the Order Perciformes, but acknowledge the fact that not all ichthyologists would agree with that assignment. For example, Wiley & Johnson (2010), using morphological synapomorphies, proposed a Linnaean classification of teleosts based on monophyletic groups, placing the Serranidae in the Order Scorpaeniformes, Suborder Serranoidei.

Mona Passage is the only known locality for another relatively recently described fish species. Symphysanodon mona was described from a single specimen collected by the R/V Oregon in October 1959, at 18[degrees]13' N, 67[degrees]20' W, in 384 meters (Anderson & Springer 2005). The apparent restricted distributions of these two species are probably collecting artifacts.

Etymology: The specific epithet hensleyi is for Dannie A. Hensley, formerly an ichthyologist at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez (Ballantine et al. 2008 and Courtenay et al. 2011 provided obituaries for Hensley, 1944-2008).

The common name Euripos Jewelfish is derived from a Greek word meaning "canal, channel, ditch, or strait" in allusion to the type locality, Mona Passage, and the fact that the new species like most anthiine fishes is a jewel to behold.


While the manuscript for this paper was in press, the description of another new species of Odontanthias was published. White (2011) described Odontanthias randalli from 11 specimens obtained from a fish market in eastern Lombok, Indonesia. White's new species can be distinguished from O. hensleyi by the following (data for O. randalli precede those for O. hensleyi): soft rays in the dorsal fin 16 or 17 vs. 15; pectoral-fin rays 15 or 16 vs. 18; vomerine tooth patch arrowhead shaped vs. subquadrangular to diamond shaped without posterior prolongation; pelvic, anal and caudal fins variously colored vs. bright yellow. With the additions of O. hensleyi and O. randalli, the number of described species in the genus Odontanthias becomes 15.


Captain Eugenio Pineiro Soler and Miguel A. Vargas collected the specimens of the new species, while fishing commercially for Etelis oculatus (Queen Snapper) off Rincon on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Matthew T. Craig sent all of the known specimens of the new species to the first author. Denise E. De Vore photographed the holotype and one of the paratypes; Antony S. Harold produced the radiograph studied; William A. Roumillat examined and interpreted histological sections of gonadal tissue; and Phillip C. Heemstra and G. David Johnson commented on a presubmission draft of the manuscript. This is Contribution Number 369 of the Grice Marine Biological Laboratory, College of Charleston.

Received: 21 April 2011 - Accepted: 27 August 2011


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ANDERSON, W. D., JR. & SPRINGER, V. G. 2005. Review of the perciform fish genus Symphysanodon Bleeker (Symphysanodontidae), with descriptions of three new species, S. mona, S. parini, and S. rhax. Zootaxa 996: 1-44.

BALLANTINE, D. L., APPELDOORN, R. S. & APONTE, N. E. 2008. In memoriam: Dannie A. Hensley (1944-2008). Caribbean Journal of Science 44 (2): 273-276.

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RANDALL, J. E. & HEEMSTRA, P. C. 2006. Review of the Indo-Pacific fishes of the genus Odontanthias (Serranidae: Anthiinae), with descriptions of two new species and a related new genus. Indo-Pacific Fishes 38: 1-32, plates I-VIII.

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WHITE, W. T. 2011. Odontanthias randalli n. sp., a new anthiine fish (Serranidae: Anthiinae) from Indonesia. Zootaxa 3015: 21-28.

WILEY, E. O. & JOHNSON, G. D. 2010. A teleost classification based on monophyletic groups. Pp. 123-182. In: Origin and phylogenetic interrelationships of teleosts. Eds Nelson, J. S., Schultze, H.-P. and Wilson, M. V. H. Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, Munchen.

William D. Anderson, Jr. (1) and Graciela Garcia-Moliner (2), (3)

(1.) Grice Marine Biological Laboratory, College of Charleston, 205 Fort Johnson, Charleston, South Carolina 29412-9110, USA. E-mail:

(2.) Caribbean Fishery Management Council, 268 Munoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 1108, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00918-1920, USA. E-mail:

(3.) Department of Marine Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PO Box 9000, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 00681, USA.
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Author:Anderson, William D., Jr.; Garcia-Moliner, Graciela
Publication:aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology
Date:Jan 15, 2012
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