Thymichthys, Last & Gledhill Csiro, 2009

Last, Peter R. & Gledhill Csiro, Daniel C., 2009, A revision of the Australian handfishes (Lophiiformes: Brachionichthyidae), with descriptions of three new genera and nine new species 2252, Zootaxa 2252 (1), pp. 1-77 : 58-59

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.2252.1.1


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gen. nov.

Thymichthys gen. nov.

Type species. Thymichthys politus (Richardson, 1844) (by original designation).

Definition. Thymichthys is unique among brachionichthyids in having skin variably adorned with wart-like protuberances, strongly demarcated sensory scales and dermal appendages. Its members also differ from other handfishes in the following combination of features: body relatively deep (33–52% SL at second dorsal-fin origin) and variable in shape, subtriangular to compressed slightly in cross section, elongate, length 46–56% SL; caudal peduncle usually very short, 2–6% (rarely to 9%) SL; illicium robust or slender (1.9–3.4 in head length), usually 2–3 (rarely to 4) times length of esca; skin surface usually smooth to touch, with variably developed, embedded scales; scales usually sparse, with simple and/or bifurcate spinules and irregular bases; spinules usually short, adpressed, directed posteriorly, originating at posterior margin of scale base, their tips fully embedded or barely protruding above skin surface; body brightly coloured or with a strong pattern of blotches, spots and reticulations; pectoral-fin rays 7–10 (mainly 8 or 9); anal-fin rays 6–10 (rarely 6); vertebrae 20–24 (mainly 21–23).

Etymology. Combination of the Greek thymos (warty excrescence) and Greek ichthys (fish) in allusion to the warty protuberances on the skin of these handfishes.

Species. Presently contains two valid nominal species: Thymichthys politus (Richardson, 1844) and T. verrucosus ( McCulloch & Waite, 1918) . Regional forms of T. verrucosus differ morphologically and may be separate species.

Remarks. The type species of the genus, Thymichthys politus , was wrongly listed by Jordan (1919) as the type of Brachionichthys Bleeker 1855 ( Eschmeyer & Fricke, 2009). The composition of this group has not been fully resolved and other species, presently assigned to T. verrucosus , may exist. A dedicated investigation using additional material and the assistance of molecular methods is needed to resolve these issues.

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