a new species of perchlet from a mesophotic ecosystem at Rapa Nui (Easter Island) (Teleostei, Serranidae, Anthiadinae)
A new species of the perchlet genus Plectranthias is herein described from a single specimen found at Rapa Nui (Easter Island) in the South Pacific. Plectranthiasahiahiata sp. n. was collected at a depth of 83 m in a mesophotic coral ecosystem at Rapa Nui. The main difference between Plectranthiasahiahiata and other members of the genus is higher fin-ray counts (X, 18 dorsal; 18 pectoral) and its distinctive coloration. Compared to the three other known eastern South Pacific species, P.ahiahiata has more dorsal-fin rays, more pectoral-fin rays, fewer tubed lateral-line scales, fewer gill rakers, a longer head relative to SL, a very short first dorsal spine relative to SL, and a short third anal spine relative to SL. Plectranthiasahiahiata is distinguished from western Pacific species, by having more dorsal- and pectoral-fin rays. The closest relative based on genetic divergence (with 12.3% uncorrected divergence in the mitochondrial COI gene) is Plectranthiaswinniensis, a widely distributed species, suggesting important links between Rapa Nui and western Pacific islands. This new species adds to the high endemism of the Rapa Nui ichthyofauna, and is further evidence of the importance of mesophotic reefs as unique communities.
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