Austrofundulus leohoignei , Tomas Hrbek, Donald C. Taphorn & Jamie E. Thomerson, 2005

Tomas Hrbek, Donald C. Taphorn & Jamie E. Thomerson, 2005, Molecular phylogeny of Austrofundulus Myers (Cyprinodontiformes: Rivulidae), with revision of the genus and the description of four new species., Zootaxa 825, pp. 1-39: 19-22

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Austrofundulus leohoignei

new species

Austrofundulus leohoignei  ZBK  new species

Figures 9 and 10

Austrofundulus limnaeus  ZBK  Taphorn and Thomerson 1978:415, 418-420 as “Tucacas Populations”, Table 12;

Austrofundulus transilis  ZBK  Goldstein 1972: 51 (color photo, no locality given, but fish are very similar to phenotypes from Tucacas).

Holotype. FMNH 108224 (ex FMNH 85266). Adult male (65.3 mm) collected in a small temporary pond 4 km north of Sanare on the road to San Juan de Los Cayos by J. E. Thomerson and L. Hoigne on 20 August 1969.

Paratypes. FMNH 85266, nine additional specimens collected at the type locality together with the holotype. FMNH 92574, thirty three additional specimens collected at the type locality together with the holotype. MCNG 32100, one additional specimen collected in a rain pool ( Río Aroa drainage) about 10 km east of Palma Sola in the direction of Tucacas by D. Taphorn, L. Page, K. Cummings, C. Meyer, P. Ceas and J. Armbruster on Jan. 21, 1995.

Diagnosis. Austrofundulus leohoignei  ZBK  is phenotypically “intermediate” between the gracile A. transilis  ZBK  and the robust A. limnaeus  ZBK  , and the other new species described here. They have relatively small body size, and do not appear to be very aggressive; however, they do have highly developed male coloration and sexual dimorphism, including the red subterminal ring seen in A. guajira  ZBK  , as well as short dorsal and ventral extensions on the caudal fin. In general, the overall tone of the body coloration is somber gray-green, more akin to the pastel colors of A. transilis  ZBK  than the more gaudy color patterns seen in other Austrofundulus  ZBK  species.

Description. Males have a dull steel-gray-blue, sky-blue or aqua colored background in the dorsal fin over which approximately six irregularly curved rows of black, brown or maroon spots are overlaid. Proximal spots are larger, and are often so indistinct so as to form irregular blotches. The edge of the dorsal fin is black. Females have clear or dusky gray dorsal fins with a few faint gray spots. Males have dull steel-gray-blue caudal fins. Subtending the distal margin, there is often an orange-red or blue subterminal band, which may be continuous from the top to the bottom of the fin or broken in several sections by an intervening black or other shades of blue. Frequency of the subterminal band varies significantly from year to year, however. There are sometimes a few diffuse spots at the upper edge of the fin near the caudal peduncle. Both the dorsal and the ventral edge of the caudal fin extend to form a “lyre-tail”. Females have clear to light golden caudal fin, with some individuals exhibiting melanistic blotches. The anal fin of males consists typically of light background overlaid with darker spots. However, especially the basal spots are not arranged in distinct row. The background is light gray or blue, with dark gray spots. Distally the fin is darker, almost becoming black. Females have tan or gray anal fin, with similarly arranged spots. In some females, all anal pigment is lacking. Both the pectoral and pelvic fins of males are dusky-gray to maroon, and often have faint gray spots. The pectoral and pelvic fins of females are clear or dusky-gray. The sides of the body of males are complexly patterned. The background color is gray or brown, with black or dark brown spots just behind the opercle, and reddish-brown to maroon spots further back, often arranged in a line pattern. Posterior to the dorsal fin, the body is darker, and the sides may have few scattered blue scales. In some individuals, the blue scales and brown background alternates to form diagonal zig-zag rows. The ventrum is lighter, but similarly patterned. In females, the basic color is plain light gray, with scales near the middle of the sides having dark centers with lighter margins. As in males, the abdomen of females is lighter than the rest of the body. The color patterns of males are heterogeneous, but do not overlap with those of any other species. Morphometric data are given in Table 5, see also Table 12 of Taphorn and Thomerson (1978). Austrofundulus leohoignei  ZBK  attains up to 68.0 mm SL in males, 32.0 mm in females.

Etymology. We take great pleasure in naming this species in honor of the late Mr. Leo Hoigne who discovered this species, and many other annual killifishes in Venezuela. It was our privilege to know him and share his delight in discovering and keeping annual killifishes.

Distribution. Endemic to the Río Aroa drainage, Falcón state Venezuela. This species is known from only two lowland localities near Sanare, and its survival is threatened by agriculture.