Zoological Studies

Vol. 48 No. 5, 2009

Halichoeres claudia sp. nov., a New Indo-Pacific Wrasse (Perciformes: Labridae), the Fourth Species of the H. ornatissimus Complex

John E. Randall1,* and Luiz A. Rocha2

1Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817-2704, USA
2Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai‘i, P.O. Box 1346, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA

John E. Randall and Luiz A. Rocha (2009) The labrid fish Halichoeres ornatissimus (Garrett), previously reported from the Hawaiian Is. (type locality) and various islands of Oceania to the Great Barrier Reef and Indonesia, as well as Christmas I. and the CocosKeeling Is. in the eastern Indian Ocean, is here recognized as endemic to the Hawaiian Is. and Johnston I.  It is one of a complex with 3 other species: H. claudia sp. nov., from French Polynesia and the Line Is. to the Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, Christmas I., Cocos-Keeling Is., and Cartier Reef, Timor Sea; H. orientalis Randall from Japan and Taiwan; and H. cosmetus Randall and Smith from the Indian Ocean, including Christmas I.  Halichoeres ornatissimus is distinguished from H. claudia sp. nov. by the green body stripes of adults being broken into a series of spots, by males losing the prominent middle black spot in the dorsal fin, by their attaining a larger size (116 mm standard length, compared to 92 mm for H. claudia sp. nov.), and by a 2% mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence.  A neotype is designated for H. ornatissimus (the holotype was destroyed by the San Francisco fire of 1906).

Key words: Taxonomy, Coral reef fishes, Labridae, New species, Indo-Pacific.

*Correspondence: E-mail:jackr@hawaii.rr.com