Researchers from Brazil have published data on a new species of fish in the Labrisomidae family on the Brazilian archipelago of Trindade and Martim Vaz in the Atlantic Ocean. It is an endemic species that can only be found in this group of islands due to how far it is from the coast.
A team of Brazilian researchers have described for the first time a new species of labrisomid, the Hypleurochilus brasil, endemic to the Brazilian archipelago of Trindade and Martim Vaz, more than 1,200 kilometres from the coast of Rio de Janeiro in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
As Hudson Pinheiro, a researcher from the Department of Oceanography and Ecology at the Federal University of Espírito Santo in Brazil, explains: "Populations of this new species have been isolated in the archipelago for a long time due to the distance from the coast, and have developed clear differences in comparison with other 'sibling' species living on the continental margin."
This new orange-coloured labrisomid differs from other fish of the Hypleurochilus branch because of its colour pattern, with reddish spots all over its body, the absence of dark stripes (characteristic of other labrismoids) and the dorsal, pelvic and posterior bones which form their fins. It is endemic to the Carioca archipelago of Trindade and Martim Vaz. "It is a unique species from these remote islands," Pinheiro stresses.
This new species was located in 2009 during a scientific expedition conducted by several Brazilian universities with support from the Brazilian Navy, part of the research project TAMAR/ICMbio for the conservation and study of sea turtles.
In their article, published in the journal Zootaxa, the authors describe how the Hypleurochilus brasil lives at depths of between three and fifteen metres, either alone or in small groups of up to ten. It always hides in holes or nooks on the ocean floor and is associated with various urchins and sponges that live in rocky reefs.
With the discovery of this new labrismoid, there are now eleven known members of the Hypleurochilus family in the world, three of which are found on the Brazilian coast.
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