Elacatinus lori , Patrick L. Colin, 2002

Patrick L. Colin, 2002, A new species of sponge-dwelling Elacatinus (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the western Caribbean., Zootaxa 106, pp. 1-7: 2-6

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Elacatinus lori

new species

Elacatinus lori  ZBK  - new species

Figures 1-2

Gobiosoma horsti  ZBK  (white color form, in part) Colin, 1975:102-103., Greenfield and Johnson, 1999: 265.

Gobiosoma illecebrosum  ZBK  , (non Böhlke and Robins, 1968), Humann 1994.

Material Examined- Holotype: UF 2030716, formerly UMML 30716, (a female, 45.6 mm SL), BELIZE, barrier reef, Tobacco Reef , 22-27 m depth, 26 Oct. 1972, P.L. Colin.  Paratypes: UF 234708, BELIZE, same data as holotype , (6 ind. 12.0-36.8 mm SL, 3 largest female, others undetermined)  .


Morphometrics of holotype and three largest paratype specimens (29.8-36.8 mm SL) as percent of standard length: head length, 24.0-27.7; upper jaw length, 10.0-12.0; eye diameter, 6.2-7.6; snout length, 5.6-6.0; mouth width; 10.6-11.6; greatest depth, 21.0-23.4; depth at dorsal origin, 18.6-23.4; depth at caudal peduncle, 12.5-13.9; pectoral fin length, 22.5-27.0; pelvic fin length, 17.6-19.2; caudal fin length, 22.3-24.0. Fin-ray counts: D. VII, 12-13; A. 11; P. 18-19.

The body is naked, elongate, somewhat laterally compressed. The mouth is terminal in position and U-shaped. A rostral frenum is absent. Tongue is rounded. The dorsal fin is without elongated anterior spines. Caudal fin is rounded. The ventral fin cup is complete.

The lower jaw has a small patch of recurved canine teeth on either side inside a row of smaller stubby canines near the anterior end. The upper jaw has a few much smaller canines in the area above the patch on the jaw, with tiny canines in a row along the edge of the jaw. As the 4 largest specimens were female, no assessment of sex-related dentition differences could be made. Such differences are known in other species of Elacatinus  ZBK  ( Böhlke and Robins, 1968).

The three largest specimens were ripe females (36.8-29.8 mm SL)

Color Pattern in Life: The most prominent feature is the thin white lateral stripe just above the mid-line of the body running anteriorly from the upper part of the eye posteriorly to the origin of the caudal fin. On the upper surface of the eye the stripe is slightly wider than on the body. When looking straight ahead, the eye line is aligned with the body stripe (Fig. 1). A thin white stripe (called a "bar" by Colin, 1975) is found on the mid-line of the snout, running from near the forward margin of the eyes to near the upper lip (Fig. 1). Its width is similar to the stripe on the body. The body has a broad dark lateral stripe running along the mid-line. Its upper limit is at the white lateral stripe along its entire length. Its lower margin starts at the lower edge of the eye, drops slightly lower on the belly, then becomes narrower posteriorly. It ends in a rounded extension on the anterior part of the caudal fin, extending further posteriorly than the white stripe. Other than the extension of the dark lateral stripe onto the caudal fin, all fins are clear and colorless. The area above the white lateral stripe is dark to the origin of the first dorsal fin, then is pale posteriorly. The bases of the dorsal fins have some melanophores. The dorsal portion of the head is dark between the eyes and onto the snout. The lips are dark anteriorly becoming pale posteriorly where they merge with the pale coloration of the ventral surface of the head. The ventral surface of the mouth, throat, abdomen and tail are pale. Eye black with the exception of the white stripe on its upper surface.

Color Pattern in Preserved Specimens: In the preserved specimens used in this description, the white lateral stripe and snout stripe are still plainly visible as a dark line 30 years after preservation in all specimens. The posterior extension of the dark lateral stripe is visible as a dark splotch at the base of the caudal fin. Otherwise the dark stripe has faded to just a faint area. This was also found to be the case in non-type specimens held in the FMNH since the 1970’s, collected by D.W. Greenfield. 

Geographic Range: E. lori  ZBK  is known only from the Gulf of Honduras where it occurs along the Belize barrier reef and offshore atolls, plus the Bay Islands of Honduras. Its range appears to be mutually exclusive to that of E. horsti (W)  , known from Haiti, Jamaica and Serranilla Bank, and E. horsti (Y)  , known from the Cayman Islands and northern Bahamas (Colin, 1975). E. lori  ZBK  is the only shallow-water (generally above 20-30 m) sponge-dwelling Elacatinus  ZBK  found in the Gulf of Honduras; E. louisae  ZBK  occurs deeper in that region. It is not known what shallow-water sponge-dwelling Elacatinus  ZBK  , if any, occurs further north in the Yucatan Channel.

Etymology: Named for Lori Jane Bell Colin in recognition of her numerous contributions to the biology of coral reef fishes.

Remarks- Elacatinus lori  ZBK  is most similar to the white color form of E. horsti  (Fig. 2b). Since the pattern and coloration of E. lori  ZBK  is consistent across its known range and is the only shallow-water sponge-dwelling Elacatinus  ZBK  in the Gulf of Honduras, it was decided it did indeed represent a valid species. The narrow snout stripe in E. lori  ZBK  easily separates this species from E. horsti (W)  and remains visible in well-preserved material.

The only other Elacatinus  ZBK  that might be confused with E. lori  ZBK  are two others with a snout marking and terminal/subterminal mouth position; E. xanthiprora  ZBK  and E. randalli  ZBK  (Fig. 2). However, both species have a wider lateral stripe and wide snout marking with rounded ends which would distinguish them from E. lori  ZBK  . Additionally E. randalli  ZBK  has the mouth subterminal, rather than terminal, in position and is a cleaning coral-dwelling species. Additional species of Elacatinus  ZBK  with snout-markings are shown in Figure 2.

E. lori  ZBK  was extremely common on the barrier reef and offshore atolls of Belize and at Roatan Island, Honduras. Greenfield and Johnson (1999:265), based on ichthyocide stations, reported the depth range of E. lori  ZBK  as being generally 9-24 m (although one or a few individuals were recorded at 0-1.2 m). They reported a similar depth range for E. louisae  ZBK  (12-24 m), however the depth involved (12-24 m) are those where both species may occur. However, E. lori  ZBK  was not found below about 30 m and E. lousiae  was extremely common at those depths and below. Regarding the collection from 0-1.2 m, E. lori  ZBK  might occur in very shallow water, if the proper species of sponges were present. Such sponges, though, are generally found at minimum depths of 6-9 m in areas protected from the wave action near the surface.

E. lori  ZBK  shares what appears to be a common range with a southern population of the cleaning goby, E. oceanops  ZBK  , which is limited to the Gulf of Honduras. Although Greenfield and Johnson (1999) identified E. oceanops  ZBK  from Belize as E. evelynae  ZBK  , indicating it was common in that area, I examined these specimens at the Field Museum of Natural History and determined all were E. oceanops  ZBK  . The zoogeography of Elacatinus  ZBK  in the tropical Western Atlantic is complex and is receiving further attention.




USA, Illinois, Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History (also used by Finnish Museum of Natural History)