Four New Species of Deep-Sea Anglerfish Found in New Zealand Waters

Marine biologists from Taiwan and New Zealand have identified four new species of deep-sea fish in the anglerfish genus Chaunax.

The Yellowspot frogmouth, Chaunax flavomaculatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

The Yellowspot frogmouth, Chaunax flavomaculatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

The Chaunacidae is a group of medium-sized fishes inhabiting the continental slope at depths of up to 1.6 miles (2.5 km).

The newly discovered species, named Chaunax flavomaculatus, C. mulleus, C. reticulatus and C. russatus, have been described in a paper published in the journal Zootaxa.

Chaunax flavomaculatus is about 4 – 5 inches (10 – 12 cm) in length and lives at depths of 1,150-1,312 feet (350 – 400 m).

The specific name of Chaunax flavomaculatus derives from the Latin words flavo (yellow) and maculates (spot), in reference to the fresh coloration of the dorsal body. The proposed common name of the species is Yellowspot frogmouth.

Chaunax flavomaculatus is most similar to C. abei and C. endeavouri, with which it shares a mix of numerous bifurcated and simple dermal spinules. Chaunax flavomaculatus is unique in having many large yellow spots on the pinkish background of the dorsal surface when fresh, and a creamy white body when preserved,” the biologists wrote in the Zootaxa paper.

The Redshoes frogmouth, Chaunax mulleus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

The Redshoes frogmouth, Chaunax mulleus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

Chaunax mulleus, or Redshoes frogmouth, grows to about 4 – 6.3 inches (10 – 16 cm) and lives at 2,360 – 3,610 feet (720 – 1,100 m).

Its scientific name derives from the Latin mulleus (a red shoe) and refers to the distinct deep–red ventral surface of outer half of the pectoral and pelvic fins and ventral surface of anal and caudal fins in fresh specimens.

The Netted frogmouth, Chaunax reticulatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

The Netted frogmouth, Chaunax reticulatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

Chaunax reticulatus grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) and lives at depths of 1,180 – 3,115 feet (360 – 950 m). Its name derives from the Latin retis (net) and refers to the netted color pattern of the body. The proposed common name is Netted frogmouth.

Chaunax reticulatus can be distinguished from others in the group by the pale reticulate pattern on a grey background dorsally.”

The Red Coffinfish, Chaunax russatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

The Red Coffinfish, Chaunax russatus (Hsuan-Ching Ho et al)

Chaunax russatus, or Red Coffinfish, is about 8 – 9.8 inches (20 – 25 cm). Its specific name derives from the Latin russatus (clothed in red) and refers to the uniform bright red color of the body and fins.

Red Coffinfish inhabits oceanic waters at depths of 1,640 – 3,937 feet (500 – 1,200 m).

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Bibliographic information: Hsuan-Ching Ho et al. 2013. A review of the anglerfish genus Chaunax (Lophiiformes: Chaunacidae) from New Zealand and adjacent waters, with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 3620 (1): 89–111