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[[ Apogon fasciatus species group ]]

Color patterns similarities in the large genus Apogon ZBK are used to group various species into smaller phenetic groups which may prove to be monophyletic through additional character analysis. General habitat fidelity may provide another clue to relationships. The Apogon fasciatus species grouping as proposed here, has a common basis in general color pattern, a mid-lateral dark stripe from the snout to tip of the caudal fin, no dark stripes below the mid-lateral stripe, no dark spots on head or body and black stomachs. First-dorsal spines are VI and VII in this group. These species generally have a coastal shelf (continental-like) distribution, preferring sandy or muddy bottoms of deeper tropical waters or shallow warm-temperate waters. The presence of an unidentified species, often identified as Apogon fasciatus or A. quadrifasciatus ZBK , resulted in a preliminary examination of the group by the author and Ernest A. Lachner in 1974. A review of that information during the past several years confirmed the initial conclusion about the existence of an undescribed species. The purpose of this report is to describe the new species, review the status of nominal species and provide a detailed examination of the gill raker variation among the valid species and geographically within Apogon fasciatus .

White (1790) briefly described the first species, Mullus fasciatus , in this complex from southeastern Australia, but either failed to preserve the specimen or it was lost with time. The original illustration clearly showed two dark stripes along the body. Lachner (1953: 439, Pl 35A), in a footnote of a key to the species of Apogon ZBK , created a neotype from the type locality, Port Jackson, Australia because no types were available. The neotype was not described in Lachner’s text, but the footnote refers to the previous description and figure of the same specimen by Radcliffe (1911) along with a copy of the figure from White (1790). Radcliffe (1911) did not report any gill raker counts which was partially rectified by Lachner (1953: tab. 39 & 40). Randall and Lachner (1986) recounted this history without discussing Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK . Randall and Hoese (1988) noted that the specimen used by Lachner can be identified with Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK , a wide-ranging Indo-West Pacific species, and provided a table comparison of gill-raker counts for four species. The comparative material was not listed. Kuiter (1993) and Kuiter and Kozawa (1999) suggested that Apogon fasciatus is restricted to eastern Australia and that Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK is more widespread in the Indian Ocean, but not reaching past Bali, Indonesia. Gon and Randall (2003) agreed with Kuiter (1993) reversing Randall and Hoese’s previous conclusion about a different species in eastern Australia, based on postocular stripe characteristics.

Quoy and Gaimard (1825) described Apogon fasciatus from Guam, a preoccupied name as a secondary homonym, the result of White’s earlier name. Weber and de Beaufort (1929) listed Quoy and Gaimard’s name under Apogon novemfasciatus Cuvier in Cuvier and Valeniecnnes, 1828 ZBK . According to Randall and Lachner (1986) Quoy and Gaimard’s holotype is Apogon novemfasciatus ZBK . My examination of these types leads to the same conclusion.

Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes (1828) described Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK from a single specimen taken at Pondichery, India. Comparing his specimen with the description of Apogon fasciatus (White) , Cuvier concluded that differences existed. Weber and de Beaufort (1929:300) listed Mullus fasciatus as a questionable name with priority.

Günther (1880) briefly described two species, Apogon monogramma and Apogon septemstriatus from the Arafura Sea and provided figures (Pl. XVI, figs A & B). No comparisons were made with previously described species. Weber and de Beaufort (1929:300) listed Apogon monogramma as a synonym of Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK .

Fowler (1904) described Apogon evanidus ZBK from Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia based on two specimens. He compared this species with Apogon fraenatus ZBK , a species in another subgenus. Weber and de Beaufort (1929:300) listed Apogon evanidus ZBK as a questionable synonym of Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK .

Jordan & Snyder (1901) described Apogon kiensis ZBK from Wakanoura Kii, Japan. No species comparisons were made. Weber and de Beaufort (1929:302) contrasted the number of first dorsal spines in this species and Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK .

Jordan & Seale (1905) described Amia elizabethae ZBK from Hong Kong, China. No species comparisons were made. Jordan and Richardson (1909) noted that A. elizabethae ZBK was very close to A. quadrifasciata . Fowler (1937) synonomized Amia elizabethae ZBK with Amia quadrifasciata .

Regan (1908) described Apogon quinquestriatus ZBK from South Nilandu, Maldive Islands. He related this species to Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK and A. septemstriatus . No other material has been reported.

McCulloch (1915) created new name combinations in Amia based on White’s name treating one new subspecies and three other color forms as polychromic subspecies: Amia fasciata fasciata , A. f. aroubiensis , A. f. compressa , A. f. novemfasciata , and A. f. stevensi ZBK . None of the subspecies combinations has survived as useful taxa. McCulloch listed Apogon monogramma and Apogon kiensis ZBK as synonyms of Amia quadrifasciata .

Fowler and Bean (1930) listed Apogon monogramma , Amia elizabethae ZBK and Apogon quinquestriatus ZBK as synonyms of Amia quadrifasciata . The species they treated as Amia fasciata was a combination of other dark-striped species. Apogon kiensis ZBK was treated as a separate species described with VII first-dorsal spines instead of VI and was misidentified.

J.L.B. Smith (1961) was the first to report on specimens, identified as Apogon kiensis ZBK (= Apogon bryx ZBK ), from various locations in the Indian Ocean (Red Sea and Mozambique). All other prior reports he mentioned, Jordan & Snyder (1901), Seale (1914) and Fowler & Bean (1930), were from Japan, China and the Philippines. Some of these reports were based on a VII spined species, identified as as Apogon quadrifasciatus ZBK or A. fasciatus , either due to trawl damaged first spine or overlooking the tiny first dorsal spine. Data presented here from examination of the type material of Apogon kiensis ZBK from Japan and material reported by Smith (1961) revealed gill raker count and slight pectoral-fin ray differences of a then undescribed species.

Fraser (1998) described Apogon bryx ZBK from Balayan Bay, Luzon Island Philippines from one specimen taken in 145-155 m. He compared this species with other VI spined species and concluded that A. bryx ZBK was related to a possible new species from the western Indian Ocean and to A. kiensis ZBK . Data presented here shows that Apogon kiensis ZBK is restricted to the East China Sea and Japan, while Apogon bryx ZBK is widespread from the Red Sea (see Gon and Randall, 2003) to Taiwan and the Philippines.


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