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Victor B.C.,Ocean Science Foundation | Victor B.C.,Nova Southeastern University | Randall J.E.,Bishop Museum
Zoological Studies | Year: 2010

Gramma dejongi is described as a new species of basslet from deep reefs off the town of Trinidad, along the southcentral coast of Cuba. The species is closely-related to the common and widespread Royal Gramma, G. loreto, but is distinguished by uniform yellow coloration on the head and body without stripes through the eye (vs. prominently bicolored with eye stripes) and smaller adult size. It is found on coral reefs at depths from 20-30 m, while G. loreto occurs on both shallow and deep reefs. G. dejongi is sympatric with both the Royal Gramma and the Blackcap Basslet, G. melacara, on the Cuban reefs, but has not yet been found at any other location in the Caribbean Sea. The barcode COI mtDNA sequence is the same as the Royal Gramma, indicating that the new species may represent a particularly interesting case of very recent speciation within the Caribbean, perhaps analogous to the species-flock of hamlets (Hypoplectrus spp.) and the species-pair of angelfishes Centropyge argi and C. aurantonotus, none of which have yet diverged from their sister-species in COI mtDNA sequences (phenotypic species). A local endemic sibling species found in the middle of the range of a widespread regional species raises important questions about sympatric speciation among reef fishes. Source


Bernardi G.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Bernardi G.,San Francisco State University | Ramon M.L.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Alva-Campbell Y.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 6 more authors.
Bulletin of Marine Science | Year: 2014

Working in the Galápagos Islands and surrounding areas, we examined the relationship between population structure, a precursor to allopatric speciation, in species of reef fishes that exhibit different life history traits and three types of distributions in a nested setting: endemic (restricted to the Galápagos Islands), insular (Galápagos and neighboring islands), and Panamic (tropical eastern Pacific). We used a combination of population structure and coalescent approaches to assess the degree of genetic population structure in the three groups of fish species. In addition, we evaluated the level of inter-island genetic diversity in endemic species to determine if Galápagos fishes, like their terrestrial counterparts, could be used as a system to study allopatric speciation in the sea. We found that in general, there was no correlation between distribution ranges, life history traits, and population structure, except for Dialommus fuscus Gilbert, 1891, a Galápagos endemic that lives in the uppermost intertidal area, and as predicted, shows very strong population structure. We found the highest number of statistically significant population pairwise FST comparisons in endemic species. In addition, three out of four endemic species showed significant population pairwise FST [D. fuscus, Lepidonectes corallicola (Kendall and Radcliffe, 1912), and Lythrypnus gilbert (Heller and Snodgrass, 1903)]. These results suggest that endemic Galápagos Islands reef fishes may be a promising group of species to study phylogeographic patterns of speciation.© 2014 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami. Source


Victor B.C.,Ocean Science Foundation | Victor B.C.,Nova Southeastern University | Vasquez-Yeomans L.,Colegio de Mexico | Valdez-Moreno M.,Colegio de Mexico | And 5 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2010

Additional larval, juvenile, and adult specimens and live photographs of the Caribbean Kuna Goby, Coryphopterus kuna, expand the known geographic range for the species and allow a comprehensive description of all the life stages for this recently-discovered species, including age and growth estimates from daily otolith increments. The Kuna Goby is found widely throughout the tropical western Atlantic, including southern Florida, Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Panama, San Andres Island, Bonaire, and Guadeloupe. The additional specimens indicate that C. kuna has a pelvic frenum and that females have a black flag on the outer portion of the first two spinous dorsal-fin membranes, while males have a dark stripe along the mid-length of the spinous dorsal fin. The development of melanophores on pelagic larvae through the transition to settled juvenile is described. The Kuna Goby is a notably small goby: larvae settle around 7-9 mm SL, adults mature at 10-11 mm SL and then only attain about 17 mm SL. Kuna Gobies settle after a 60-day pelagic larval life, and mature rapidly. They are reproductive in as few as three weeks and live for about two months after settlement. This is the first reported fish in which the pelagic larval duration is generally longer than the post-settlement lifespan. Copyright © 2010 Magnolia Press. Source


News Article
Site: http://www.rdmag.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

Near the Pacific Ocean’s continental slope, off the coast of Costa Rica, scientists discovered a new species of shark. Its sleek body is colored asphalt black, leading one to understand the reasoning behind its common name, the Ninja Lanternshark. But its scientific name Etmopterus benchleyi is a more of a pop cultural nod, one to author Peter Benchley, who famously penned “Jaws” and later became a dedicated shark conservationist. “His legacy, the Benchley Awards, recognizes outstanding achievements in ocean conservation,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. “In line with Mr. Benchley’s outreach efforts, the privilege of deciding the common name for this species was bestowed upon four young shark enthusiasts, ages 8 to 14.” Found between depths of 836 to 1443 m, scientists described eight specimens in the recent paper. It represents the first lanternshark to be discovered off the coast of Central America. In the deep ocean, the shark utilizes photophores in its skin to produce a subtle glow, allowing it to blend into the any penetrating light from above, and appear invisible when viewed from below. “We don’t know a lot about lanternsharks. They don’t get much recognition compared to a great white,” said Victoria Elena Vásquez to Hakai Magazine. Vásquez is a graduate student at the Pacific Shark Research Center, and the lead author of the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation paper. Dave Ebert, the program director of the Pacific Shark Research Center, told Hakai Magazine that roughly 20% of shark species have been discovered within the last 10 years. The new find only deepens the mysteries the oceans may hold below.


News Article | December 31, 2015
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Five years after the first unconfirmed reports of spotting a group of eight sharks from a then-unidentified lanternshark species 0.5 to 0.9 miles under the ocean's surface, scientists were finally able to publish their findings on the newest shark on the block after half a decade of extensive analysis. The paper, which was published online in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation on Dec. 21, also revealed the shark's name, the Ninja Lanternshark, which resulted in the discovery going viral within days. How exactly did the newest identified underwater predator get its name in the first place? It turns out that the moniker can be credited to a group of teenagers. Vicky Vásquez, a graduate student in marine science at the Pacific Shark Research Center in California and one of the lead scientists on the study, turned to four of her younger cousins and a group of high schoolers that she mentors to come up with a layman-friendly name for the newly-discovered lanternshark, whose scientific name, Etmopterus benchleyi, is a nod to Jaws book author, screenwriter and shark activist Peter Benchley. After a series of brainstorming sessions, the scientist and her proteges came up with "ninja lanternshark," which Vásquez posits is a nod to its monochromatic coloring, which lends it stealthy, ninja-like abilities — in its marine adjacent world, at least. "They started with 'super ninja,' but I had to scale them back," Vásquez said in an interview with Live Science. Besides its unique nomenclature, the ninja lanternshark has also made its rounds on the Internet due to to its ability to be its own de facto flashlight, thanks to photophores (cup-shaped organs that have the ability to cast a small amount of light) located in its head. The other importance of the name? When it boils right down to it, accessibility. "It redefines our conception of sharks from being these massive fearsome things to these beautiful sometimes small, glowing animals," said Baruch College associate professor David Gruber to Live Science while commenting on the findings. "It shows us how many more mysteries there to uncover in the shark domain."

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