Paraliparis skeliphrus , David L. Stein, 2005

David L. Stein, 2005, Descriptions of four new species, redescription of Paraliparis membranaceus, and additional data on species of the fish family Liparidae (Pisces, Scorpaeniformes) from the west coast of South , Zootaxa 1019, pp. 1-25: 3-5

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Paraliparis skeliphrus

new species

Paraliparis skeliphrus  ZBK  new species

(Fig. 1, Table 1)

Paraliparis sp. Stein, Melendez, and Kong 1991 

Holotype: USNM 307338, female, 71 mm SL, “Anton Bruun” Sta. 61, 34° 09'S, 72° 25.5'W, off Chile, 3 Feb. 1966, deep longline 1400-1475 m.

Diagnosis. A Paraliparis  distinguished by the following combination of characters: V 53, mouth horizontal, P 22 (14+4+4), rudimentary rays absent, notch rays distinctly more widely spaced than either upper or lower lobe rays, posterior angle of mouth reaching below or slightly behind rear margin of orbit, directly above anteriormost pectoral fin ray, gill cavity pale.

Description. Counts and proportions are given in Table 1.

Head moderately long, much deeper than wide; mouth horizontal, premaxillae extending posteriorly to below rear of eye. Teeth present in both jaws, forming narrow bands about three teeth wide composed of 30 or more oblique rows of 10 or fewer teeth each. Smaller teeth lanceolate, a few of the largest with small but distinct lateral cusps near tip. A wide notch present where premaxillae meet, clearly separating tooth bands on each side of upper jaw. Gill opening length difficult to determine but apparently completely above pectoral fin; opercle long, slender, its tip pointing horizontally.

Dorsalmost pectoral-fin ray appears to be horizontal with lower margin of orbit; 22 pectoral rays, 14 in upper lobe, 4 in notch, and 4 in lower lobe; upper and lower lobe rays distinctly more closely spaced than those in notch. Upper pectoral lobe broken, but enough remains to show that dorsalmost rays reach almost to anal fin origin or possibly further posteriorly; these rays could be much longer than those lower on the pectoral girdle. Ventralmost rays (those at symphysis of pectoral girdles) far anterior, directly below rear margin of orbit.

Body elongate, slender; dorsal and anal fin-ray counts unavailable owing to damage. Anus far forward, between lower lobes of pectoral fin, just anterior to a vertical through opercular flap. At least six pyloric caeca present, fat, digitate, but of distinctly unequal lengths. Caudal-fin rays six or seven. No skin remaining. Body color tan, oral cavity dusky, branchial cavity pale, peritoneum dark brown, stomach blackish-brown streaked, pyloric caeca pale.

Specimen is a ripe female with eggs up to 4 mm in diameter.

Etymology. The specific epithet, “skeliphrus” from the masculine Greek adjective “dry-looking” because the specimen has clearly dried out at some previous time.

Distribution. Off Antofagasta, Chile, where it is apparently benthic or epibenthic.

Remarks. Because of its condition, this specimen was described but not named by Stein et al. in 1991; given the dearth of new specimens and low probability that more will be collected in the foreseeable future, it is named here. The specimen is in fair condition; apparently at one time it dried out, because it is hard and brittle, preventing thorough examination or counts of some characters, such as the pyloric caeca.

Easily distinguished, P. skeliphrus  ZBK  is most similar to P. fimbriatus Garman 1892  ZBK  (from 3241 m in the Gulf of Panama) in counts, tooth shape and arrangement, and some proportions but differs clearly in pectoral fin structure (distinctly wider notch ray spacing vs. all rays similarly and closely spaced) and the position of the pectoral symphysis and anteriormost rays (below rear of orbit vs behind it). The original and the sole subsequent descriptions (Burke 1930) of P. fimbriatus  ZBK  are poor, and with the exception of the pectoral girdle, unclear because they are based on total length of the only known specimen, (which is now disintegrated). Garman’s (1899) drawing of the pectoral girdle of the holotype, however, is well done and the arrangement of rays can easily be compared to that in USNM 307338.

The new species differs distinctly from all other Paraliparis  known from the west coasts of Central and South America in the combination of having a horizontal mouth (vs oblique in P. debueni Andriashev 1986  ZBK  , P. molinai Stein et al 1991  ZBK  , P. angustifrons Garman 1899  , and P. membranaceus  ZBK  ) teeth in bands in both jaws (vs absent or uniserial in one jaw: P. darwini Stein & Chernova 2002  ZBK  , P. galapagosensis Stein & Chernova 2002  ZBK  , P. merodontus Stein et al. 1991  ZBK  ) and in the anterior position of the pectoral symphysis (vs distinctly farther posterior: P. attenuatus Garman 1899  ZBK  ), and in various other characters (most notably number of vertebrae in P. latifrons Garman 1899  ZBK  and in P. eltanini Stein & Tompkins 1989  ZBK  ).