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[[ Scorpaena Linnaeus ]]

In May -June 2003, the biodiversity of the northern Tasman Sea was surveyed by an international research team using the New Zealand FRV Tangaroa. This survey, known as NORFANZ, led to the collection of seven unidentified scorpionfish specimens from off Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands, at depths of 86-113 m. These specimens belong to the genus Scorpaena Linnaeus, 1758 whose Indo -Pacific species are characterized by 12 dorsal-fin spines, teeth on the palatines, an occipital pit, the posterior lacrimal spine directed posteroventrally, some pectoral-fin rays branched in adults, and the pored lateral-line scales continuing on to the caudal-fin base (e.g., Poss, 1999; Motomura et al., 2005), although no definition of the genus on a worldwide basis is available (e.g., Eschmeyer, 1965; Motomura, 2004a).

These Tasman Sea specimens share two characters (i.e., absence of spines on the lateral surface of the lacrimal and presence of exposed scales on the anteroventral surface of the body and the pectoral-fin base) with only four species: S. colorata (Gilbert, 1905) , S. gibbifrons Fowler, 1938 ZBK , S. papillosa (Schneider & Forster in Bloch & Schneider, 1801) and S. sumptuosa Castelnau, 1875 ZBK . However, the specimens differ from these three species in several aspects, including head spine, ridge and scale structures, meristics, and several proportional measurements. The specimens are therefore described herein in detail as a new species. Morphological changes with growth and sexual dimorphism of the species are also discussed.


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