A new pipefish, Stigmatopora narinosa (Syngnathidae) from South Australia

Robert K. Browne and Kevin Smith
64: 1-6 (2007)
A new species of pipefish, Stigmatopora narinosa sp. nov. (Teleostei, Syngnathidae) is described from Gulf St. Vincent and Spencer Gulf, South Australia. S. narinosa shares with the other three described Stigmatopora species a similar fin placement, fully enclosed brood pouch, superior and inferior trunk and tail ridges continuous, a lateral trunk ridge ending midlaterally. S. narinosa, S. nigra Kaup, 1853, and S. argus Richardson, 1840, have long prehensile tails and all Stigmatopora lack caudal fins. S. narinosa is most similar in meristics to S. nigra in having the dorsal fin initiating on about the fifth to seventh trunk ring and the lateral trunk ridge terminating across the second tail ring. In other Stigmatopora species the dorsal fin originates on the ninth to thirteenth trunk ring, the lateral trunk ridge terminates between the eighth to thirty-second tail ring, S. narinosa is distinguished from sympatric S. nigra in having nine (range, 8.2–9.8), rather than six sub-dorsal tail rings (range, 4.8–7.1), a greater number of sub-dorsal tail and total rings, a greater number of dorsal-fin rays, a shorter laterally flattened and dorsally elevated snout, a distinct banded pattern in both live and preserved specimens, a larger brood number and a double layer of eggs in the brood pouch. The brood pouch is under the anterior portion of the tail and extends for 15–18 rings from the anal ring; pouch plates are absent or vestigial, and the folds of the semi-pouch enclosure meet on the ventral midline. The eggs are deposited in up to two layers, one lining the dorsum of the pouch and the other separated by a membranous partition, and the brood of up to 98 eggs is larger than the maximum number of 41 found in S. nigra and S. argus. S. narinosa young at birth are approximately 18 mm, S. nigra 13 mm, and S. argus 32 mm total length. S. narinosa has a very restricted known range and habitat, inhabiting patchy open beds of sea-grasses with brown algae on sandy rubble substrate between 1 m and 5 m depth over less than 200 km of coastline.
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