Reef Fishes Named In Aquarium Magazines

Joe RowlettBy Joe Rowlett 5 months ago
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Tropical Fish Hobbyist (TFH) and the recently defunct Freshwater and Marine Aquarium (FAMA) were the leading aquarium publications during the latter half of the twentieth century, and, throughout their rich history, a surprising number of species descriptions appeared within their pages. Today, this sort of taxonomic research is largely restricted to peer-reviewed scientific journals—Zootaxa, Zookeys, & JOSF are some of the most prominent contemporary examples—but for much of the 20th century it was common practice to publish in the “popular press”. TFH and FAMA are by no means unique here, as new taxa appeared in a number of aquarium magazines. In Europe, there was Practical Fishkeeping, Das Aquarium, Het Aquarium, Die Aquarien Und Terrarienzeitschrift (DATZ), Blätter für Aquarien und Terrarienkunde, Wochenschrift für Aquarien und Terrarienkunde, and Aquarien Terrarien, while in the US there was The Fish Culturist, as well as the confusingly named The Aquarium Journal, The Aquarium, Philadelphia and Ichthyologica, the Aquarium Journal. Publishing in these periodicals, versus in a scientific journal like Copeia, was often a practical matter of cost and time. Printing color photographs alongside a description might cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in a journal, whereas an aquarium magazine would have borne this cost with their advertising revenue. Turnaround time from submission to publication was also likely to be far quicker than the laborious process of peer review. Not to mention the simple fact that an aquarium magazine was likely to reach far more readers when compared to the small academic readership of traditional journals. And so this drew a wide range of authors, from well-known professional taxonomists to amateurs and aquarists. The vast majority of the scientific names published in this manner were for freshwater fishes, particularly in the earlier decades when the marine aquarium hobby was still in its infancy. One of the first taxa to appear was the Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) in a 1956 issue of TFH, with dozens more well-known species following in the ensuing years. But of the magazines listed above, only TFH and FAMA ever published descriptions for marine species, and, since many of these were originally sourced through the aquarium trade, they are often quite familiar to us now. Common reef fishes like the Bicolor Dottyback and Flameback Angelfish saw the light of day here, as did some of the deepwater holy grails, like the Peppermint Angelfish and Lunula Triggerfish. The list of authors involved reads like a who’s who of 20th-century ichthyologists: John Randall, Gerry Allen, Richard Pyle, Victor Springer, among others. But by far the most prolific was Warren Burgess, who published extensively in TFH’s magazine and books in the 1970’s and 1980’s, up until the description of the butterflyfish Prognathodes brasiliensis in 2001, the last marine species which would be described in the magazine. Now, aside from the interesting historical footnote here, there is a very practical reason why I have chosen to discuss this topic. For the taxonomists who study these fishes, it can be a considerable challenge to track down the relevant articles. This problem is especially acute when it comes to FAMA, as digitized copies are almost entirely unavailable. There is a strong need for these to be shared onto a public database like the Biodiversity Heritage Library, but this will ultimately require the cooperation of the current holder of this magazine’s copyright, Lumina Media. The same is true for those species which appeared in TFH. When it comes to taxonomic research published decades ago, there should be no argument against the open dissemination of this information with the general public. This sort of “open access” is increasingly seen as the new standard in science, and this holds doubly true for something as vital as taxonomy. And this is where you, dear reader, may be able to help. Central Garden & Pet Corporation, owners of TFH Publishing, Inc, and Lumina Media are stewards of an important zoological legacy, and it’s up to them whether they wish to share this freely with the public. No doubt these large, faceless organizations are mostly unaware of this issue, so it becomes incumbent upon those of us who care to bring it to their attention. Consider writing them, perhaps with a link to this article, to express your concern. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Flameback angelfish (Centropyge aurantonotus)
Off Oistins, Barbados, West Indies, depth 50-60 feet
Burgess, W. E.  1974 (Nov.) Centropyge aurantonotus, a new species of pygmy angelfish from the southern Caribbean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 23 (no. 3): 90-97. Goldflake Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthopunctatus)
Tabuaeran [= Fanning Island], Line Islands, central Pacific
Burgess, W. E.  1973 (Aug.) Apolemichthys xanthopunctatus, a new species of angelfish (family Pomacanthidae) from the Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 21 (no. 12): 55-56, 86-89. Brazilian Butterflyfish (Prognathodes brasiliensis)
Cabo Frio, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Burgess, W. E.  2001 (Feb.) Prognathodes brasiliensis, a new species of butterflyfish. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 49 (no. 6): 56-58, 60, 62-63. Burgess’ Butterflyfish (Chaetodon burgessi)
Off Bairakaseru Island, Ngemelis Islands, Palau Islands, Philippine Sea, 7°05’45″N, 134°15’15″E, depth 150 feet.
Allen, G. R. and W. A., II Starck  1973 (Mar.) A new species of butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) from the Palau Islands. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 21 (no. 7): 17, 18-20, 22, 26-28. Emery’s Gregory (Stegastes emeryi, as Eupomacentrus emeryi)
Off Christian’s Point, Pitcairn Island, depth 40-60 feet.
Allen, G. R. and J. E. Randall  1974 (May) Five new species and a new genus of damselfishes (family Pomacentridae) from the South Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 22 (no. 9): 36-46, 48-49. Yellow-belly Damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon flaviventris)
Outer reef at Rangiroa, 200 meters east of Tiputa Pass, Tuamotu Archipelago, depth 30 feet
Allen, G. R. and J. E. Randall  1974 (May) Five new species and a new genus of damselfishes (family Pomacentridae) from the South Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 22 (no. 9): 36-46, 48-49. Tahitian Reef-damselfish (Pomachromis fuscidorsalis)
Teavaraa Pass, Papara, Tahiti, Society Islands, depth 20 feet.
Allen, G. R. and J. E. Randall  1974 (May) Five new species and a new genus of damselfishes (family Pomacentridae) from the South Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 22 (no. 9): 36-46, 48-49. Canary Demoiselle (Chrysiptera galba, as Glyphidodontops galbus)
South side of Ruea Point, Rapa Island, depth 14 meters
Allen, G. R. and J. E. Randall  1974 (May) Five new species and a new genus of damselfishes (family Pomacentridae) from the South Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 22 (no. 9): 36-46, 48-49. Thielle’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion hybrid, as Amphiprion thiellei)
Reportedly in the vicinity of Cebu, Philippines.
Burgess, W. E.  1981 (Nov.) Pomacentrus alleni and Amphiprion thiellei, two new species of pomacentrids (Pisces: Pomacentridae) from the Indo-Pacific. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 30 (no. 3): 68-69, 72-73. Threeband Damselfish (Chrysiptera tricincta, as Glyphidodontops tricinctus)
Fagasa Bay, Tutuila, American Samoa, depth 75 feet.
Allen, G. R. and J. E. Randall  1974 (May) Five new species and a new genus of damselfishes (family Pomacentridae) from the South Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 22 (no. 9): 36-46, 48-49. Randall’s Combtooth Blenny (Ecsenius randalli)
Elmoos Reef, Halmahera, Indonesia, 0°10’01″N, 128°00’07″E, depth 6 meters.
Springer, V. G.  1991 (Aug.) Ecsenius randalli, a new species of blenniid fish from Indonesia, with notes on other species of Ecsenius. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 39 (no. 12): 100-113. Bicolor Dottyback (Pseudochromis paccagnellae)
Indonesia (aquarium specimens without specific locality).
Axelrod, H. R.  1973 (Apr.) A colorful beauty from the coral reefs of Indonesia. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 21 (no. 8): 5-6, 9-10. Axelrod’s Reef-bass (Pseudogramma axelrodi)
Clipperton Island, about 10°18’N, 109°13’W, depth 15-30 meters.
Allen, G. R. and D. R. Robertson  1995 (September) Pseudogramma axelrodi, a new species of serranid fish from the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 44 (no. 1): 72-75. Lori’s Anthias (Pseudanthias lori, as Mirolabrichthys imeldae)
Philippines.
Burgess, W. E.  1977 (June) Mirolabrichthys imeldae, a new species of anthiid fish from the Philippines (Perciformes: Serranidae). Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 25 (no. 10): 39-42, 44. Skunk Tilefish (Hoplolatilus marcosi)
Around Tingloy Island off Orensi near Mabini, Batangas, Luzon Island, Philippines, depth about 60-80 feet.
Burgess, W. E.  1978 (Jan.) Two new species of tilefishes (family Branchiostegidae) from the western Pacific. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 26 (no. 5): 43-47. Purple Tilefish (Hoplolatilus purpureus)
Tingloy Island off Orensi near Mabini, Batangas, Luzon Island, Philippines, depth about 60-80 feet.
Burgess, W. E.  1978 (Jan.) Two new species of tilefishes (family Branchiostegidae) from the western Pacific. Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 26 (no. 5): 43-47. Paracentropyge & Sumireyakko
Burgess, W. E.  1991 Two new genera of angelfishes, family Pomacanthidae. Tropical Fish Hobbyist March 1991: 68-70. Allen, G. R. and V. G. Springer  1975 (May) Amphiprion calliops Schultz, a junior synonym of the red saddleback anemonefish, Amphiprion ephippium (Bloch). Tropical Fish Hobbyist v. 23 (no. 9): 53-57. TFH Publishing, Inc. books Rusty Angelfish (Centropyge ferrugata, as Centropyge ferrugatus)
Reef one half mile off harbor of Ishigaki City, Ishigaki, Ryukyu Islands, Japan.
Burgess, W. E. and H. R. Axelrod  1972 Pacific marine fishes. Book 1. T.F.H. Publications Inc. Ltd., Hong Kong. 1-280, 489 pls. Smith’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon smithi, as Chaetodon hemichrysus)Rapa Island and Pitcairn Island, southern Pacific.
Burgess, W. E.  1978 Butterflyfishes of the World. A monograph of the family Chaetodontidae. T.F.H. Publ., Inc. Ltd., Neptune City, New Jersey, U.S.A. 1-832. Narrow-barred Butterflyfish (Amphichaetodon melbae)
Isla San Félix, off Chile.
Burgess, W. E.  1978 Butterflyfishes of the World. A monograph of the family Chaetodontidae. T.F.H. Publ., Inc. Ltd., Neptune City, New Jersey, U.S.A. 1-832. Many-spined Butterflyfish (Hemitaurichthys multispinus)
Pitcairn Island, Pacific.
Burgess, W. E.  1978 Butterflyfishes of the World. A monograph of the family Chaetodontidae. T.F.H. Publ., Inc. Ltd., Neptune City, New Jersey, U.S.A. 1-832. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium Duskytail Chromis (Chromis pelloura)
Off Coral World, Eilat, Israel, Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, depth 40 meters.
Randall, J. E. and G. R. Allen  1982 (Nov.) Chromis pelloura. A new species of damselfish from the northern Red Sea. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 5 (no. 11): 15-19. Peppermint Angelfish (Centropyge boylei)
Matauera, east side, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, South Pacific, depth 78 meters.
Pyle, R. L.  1992 The peppermint angelfish Centropyge boylei, n. sp. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 15 (no. 7): 16-18.Griffis’ Angelfish (Apolemichthys griffisi, as Holacanthus (Apolemichthys) griffisi)
Canton Island, northern Phoenix Islands, South Pacific, depth 65 feet.
Carlson, B. A. and L. R., Jr. Taylor  1981 (May) Holacanthus griffisi. A new species of angelfish from the central Pacific Ocean. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 4 (no. 5): 8-11. Oman Butterflyfish (Chaetodon dialeucos)
Southwest Barr al Hikman, Sultanate of Oman, northwestern Indian Ocean, 20°24’N, 58°13’E, depth 2.5 meters.
Salm, R. V. and J. K. L. Mee  1989 (Mar.) Chaetodon dialeucos sp. nov. A new species of shallow water butterflyfish from the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 12 (no. 3): 8-9, 11, 131. Marquesan Butterflyfish (Chaetodon declivis, as Roaops declivis wilderi)
Northwestern side of Christmas [Kiritimati] Island, 0.25 miles southwest of North London Resettlement Area, Line Islands, Pacific.
Pyle, R. L.  1988 (Sept.) A new subspecies of butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) of the genus Roaops from Christmas Island, Line Islands. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 11 (no. 9): 56-59, 62, 123-124. Earle’s Splitfin Anthias (Luzonichthys earlei)
Off Maile Point, Waianae coast, Oahu Island, Hawaiian Islands, depth 55 meters.
Randall, J. E.  1981 (Sept.) Luzonichthys earlei a new species of anthiine fish from the Hawaiian Islands. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 4 (1981, no. 9): 13-18. Red-belted Anthias (Pseudanthias rubrizonatus, as Anthias rubrizonatus)
Southwestern side of Savo Island [Central Province], Solomon Islands, western Pacific, depth 46 meters.
Randall, J. E.  1983 (Sept.) A new fish of the genus Anthias (Perciformes: Serranidae) from the western Pacific, with notes on A. luzonensis. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 6 (no. 9): 27-37. Redbarred Sandperch (Parapercis multiplicata)
Off Sesoko Marine Science Laboratory of the University of the Ryukyus, Sesoko Island, Okinawa Island, Ryukyu Islands, depth 4 meters.
Randall, J. E.  1984 Two new Indo-Pacific mugiloidid fishes of the genus Parapercis. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 7 (no. 10): 47-54. Blackflag Sandperch (Parapercis signata)
Lagoon, western side of Villingili Island, North Male Atoll, Maldives, depth 32 meters.
Randall, J. E.  1984 Two new Indo-Pacific mugiloidid fishes of the genus Parapercis. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 7 (no. 10): 47-54. Lunula Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus lunula)
Outside barrier reef about 1/4 mile east of Teavaraa Pass, Papara, Tahiti, Society Islands, depth 15 meters.
Randall, J. E. and R. C. Steene  1983 (July) Rhinecanthus lunula a new species of triggerfish from the South Pacific. Freshwater and Marine Aquarium v. 6 (no. 7): 45-51.  

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Joe Rowlett
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 Joe Rowlett

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Joe is classically trained in the zoological arts and sciences, with a particular focus on the esoterica of invertebrate taxonomy and evolution. He’s written for several aquarium publications and for many years lorded over the marinelife at Chicago’s venerable Old Town Aquarium. He currently studies prairie insect ecology at the Field Museum of Natural History and fish phylogenetics at the University of Chicago.

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