The Reticulated Shrimpgoby Is A Colorful New Tomiyamichthys

by | Oct 3, 2017 | Fish, Science | 0 comments

Tomiyamichthys reticulatus, 54.6 mm male, Rabi Island, Fiji (D.W. Greenfield).

Tomiyamichthys is the fourth largest genus of shrimpgoby, with a dozen described species and many more yet awaiting scientific names. These are mostly small and inconspicuous fishes found in silty habitats some distance away from coral reefs, and so they tend not to have much of a presence in the aquarium trade. But a newly described species from Fiji, the Reticulated Shrimpgoby (T. reticulatus), shows that this group can have some lively colors on occasion.

Unfortunately, we only have a single grainy photograph taken of a deceased specimen out of water, but, even so, the vibrancy of this fish stands out. Rather than the typical palette of browns and creamy whites, this new species boasts a series of large reddish blotches along the sides, accented with smaller golden markings situated between them. The dorsal fins are equally resplendent, featuring numerous orange spots separated by fine white reticulations. The pelvic fins offer a series of colorful wavy lines, while the anal fin is mostly chartreuse, with a thick, orange edge. The dramatically enlarged caudal fin appears slightly yellowed, with the lower margin matching the orange border of the anal fin.

With so many bright colors on this fish, it’s a bit surprising that it’s taken until now for it to be given a proper name. The holotype specimen was actually collected way back in 2003 by author David Greenfield as part of a survey of Fijian fishes, having been found on a silted bottom at 16m. While there’s certainly plenty of aquarium fish collection in Fiji, it doesn’t seem that this attractive little shrimpgoby has ever been offered to aquarists, but perhaps it should be. The only other Tomiyamichthys which aquarists get to see are dingy little fishes like T. nudus, T. oni, and the still unnamed Magnificent Shrimpgoby. So the Reticulated Shrimpgoby would be a welcome splash of color, no?

  • Joe Rowlett

    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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