A new species and new records of goatfishes of the genus Parupeneus (Mullidae) from the Indian Ocean, with updated occurrence information for P. jansenii in the Western Pacific
Goatfishes of the genus Parupeneus (Mullidae), from several areas and countries of the Indo-West Pacific, were studied, focusing on species characterized by a symmetrically rounded rear end of the maxilla, which belong to the so-called heptacanthus group. We examined 62 meristic and morphometric characters and colour patterns from 180 specimens from 11 Parupeneus species, using a comprehensive alpha-taxonomy approach. When possible, the data for species represented by wider size ranges were split into two size classes (small-sized fish, < 110 mm SL, vs. large-sized fish ≥ 110 mm SL) to account for allometric changes in body form. A new species, P. inayatae Uiblein & Fahmi, is described, based on a specimen collected in SW Lombok, Indonesia, and new records for four species are reported from the Indian Ocean: Parupeneus fraserorum new for Mozambique, P. jansenii new for Myanmar and the NE Indian Ocean, P. nansen new for Tanzania, and P. procerigena new for the Nazareth Bank and Mauritus (Cargados Carajos Bank), Western Indian Ocean (WIO). The record of P. jansenii for Myanmar was compared in detail to 37 conspecific specimens from the entire distribution range (western Indonesia to Japan and Vietnam to NE Australia). The latter revealed two new Pacific records for the Central Philippines and for Shikoku Island, Japan (northernmost record of the species). For each of the eight heptacanthus-group species, diagnoses are provided along with remarks on intraspecific size- and/or population-related variation and/or other noteworthy observations. The new species can be distinguished from all other 32 congeners as follows: dorsal head margin in front of eyes concave shaped; posterior maxilla margin evenly, symmetrically rounded; body, head, and caudal peduncle moderately deep; pectoral and pelvic fins subequal in length; and caudal peduncle clearly deeper than 9.5 % SL; in life a dusky spot on lateral line below interdorsal space, followed posteriorly by a bright orange blotch. Detailed comparisons among all eight heptacanthus-group species and with three other similar and/or co-occurring congeners revealed considerable similarity between two species pairs, P. jansenii (Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific) and P. nansen (WIO), and P. fraserorum and P. procerigena (both from the WIO). The need to further intensify taxonomic studies and accompanying fisheries-biology and ecological studies of goatfishes in the large realm of the Indo-West Pacific is emphasized.