A lucky catch: A tiny new fish, Haptoclinus dropi, from the southern Caribbean

Jun 05, 2013
This image shows the beautiful color pattern of the new species Haptoclinus dropi. The iridescence on the fins shows up, luminescing against the black background. Credit: D. Ross Robertson and Carole C. Baldwin

A new species of tiny blenniiform fish has been discovered in the biodiversity rich waters of the southern Caribbean. Haptoclinus dropi is only around 2cm in length with a beautiful color pattern that includes iridescence on the fins. The proposed common name of the species is four-fin blenny, due to the division of the dorsal fin into four sections, which is a distinguishing feature of the genus and unique among blenniiform fishes. The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.

This beautiful new species was discovered as a lucky bycatch during targeted specimen catching at 157-167 m depth off Curaçao as a part of the Smithsonian Institution's Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). The new species, Haptoclinus dropi, gets its name from the project's abbreviation and is one of numerous new ray-finned emerging from this project.

For DROP expeditions the Substation Curaçao's manned submersible Curasub was used to catch specimens. While generally used as tourist attraction because it travels at much greater depths than divers can reach, the Curasub is also used for scientific marine research. Targeted are collected with the sub's two flexible, hydraulic arms, but very often small non-targeted fish are also caught in the process.

This image shows the Substation Curaçao's manned submersible Curasub which was used to catch specimens for the Smithsonian Institution's Deep Reef Observation Project. Credit: Barry Brown, Substation Curacao

"Below the depths accessible using scuba gear and above the depths typically targeted by deep-diving submersibles, tropical deep reefs are productive that science has largely missed. They are home to diverse assemblages of new and that we are only just beginning to understand," explains the lead author of the study Dr Carole Baldwin, Smithsonian Institution.

Explore further: Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

More information: Baldwin CC, Robertson RD (2013) A new Haptoclinus blenny (Teleostei, Labrisomidae) from deep reefs off Curaзao, southern Caribbean, with comments on relationships of the genus. ZooKeys 306: 71–81, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.306.5198

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exploring Bonaire's deep reef by submarine

May 29, 2013

In a submarine, IMARES Wageningen UR researchers Erik Meesters en Lisa Becking will explore the deep reef of Bonaire, an island in the Dutch Caribbean. They aim to map the biodiversity of their research location, ...

Smithsonian scientists discover 7 new species of fish

Feb 04, 2011

Things are not always what they seem when it comes to fish -- something scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Ocean Science Foundation are finding out. Using modern genetic analysis, combined with ...

Rare species perform unique roles, even in diverse ecosystems

May 28, 2013

A new study, published 28 May in the open access journal PLOS Biology, has revealed the potential importance of rare species in the functioning of highly diverse ecosystems. Using data from three very different ecosystems—coral reefs, ...

New species of Sinamia discovered

Nov 06, 2012

According to a paper published in the latest issue of Vertebrata PalAsiatica 2012 (4), Dr. ZHANG Jiangyong, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, descri ...

Recommended for you

Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

Jul 25, 2014

The "dog days of summer" are here, but don't let the phrase fool you. This hot time of year can be dangerous for your pup, says a Kansas State University veterinarian.

Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around

Jul 25, 2014

Some Monkeys in South Africa have been found to regard field scientists as human shields against predators and why not if the alternative is death by leopard? The researchers found the monkeys felt far safer ...

User comments : 0