McFarland et al. 2020

scientific article | Zookeys | open access

A new species of Chromis damselfish from the tropical western Atlantic (Teleostei, Pomacentridae)

McFarland EP, Baldwin CC, Robertson DR, Rocha LA, Tornabene L


Initially described in 1882, Chromis enchrysurus, the Yellowtail Reeffish, was redescribed in 1982 to ac- count for an observed color morph that possesses a white tail instead of a yellow one, but morphological and geographic boundaries between the two color morphs were not well understood. Taking advantage of newly collected material from submersible studies of deep reefs and photographs from rebreather dives, this study sought to determine whether the white-tailed Chromis is actually a color morph of Chromis enchrysurus or a distinct species. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial genes cytochrome b and cy- tochrome c oxidase subunit I separated Chromis enchrysurus and the white-tailed Chromis into two recip- rocally monophyletic clades. A principal component analysis based on 27 morphological characters sepa- rated the two groups into clusters that correspond with caudal-fin coloration, which was either known or presumed based on the specimen’s collection site according to biogeographic data on species boundaries in the Greater Caribbean. Genetic, morphological, and biogeographic data all indicate that the white-tailed Chromis is a distinct species, herein described as Chromis vanbebberae sp. nov. The discovery of a new spe- cies within a conspicuous group such as damselfishes in a well-studied region of the world highlights the importance of deep-reef exploration in documenting undiscovered biodiversity.

Depth range
53- 189 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
11 x (total of 11612 words)

* Presents original data
* Reports new species
* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'



Saba Bank
USA - Continental Atlantic Ocean

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Manned Submersible

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