Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2005-09-08

Petroscirtes pylei, a new saber-toothed blenny from the Fiji Islands (Teleostei: Blenniidae)

U. S. Geological Survey, 7920 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL 32653-3701, USA
Pisces Blenniidae taxonomy new species deep-reef Indo-west Pacific Fiji Islands


Petroscirtes pylei is described from three specimens, 20.3–40.9 mm SL, obtained from a deepwater reef off Suva, Viti Levu, Fiji Islands. It is distinguished from all other congeners by its color pattern, including the presence of two dark body stripes, the lower one broadly extending onto the anal fin, and the dorsal fin with a broad, dark basal stripe, superimposed by a conspicuous white spot centered on the 4th spine. Among Petroscirtes, only the new species and P. springeri typically have 12 dorsal-fin spines but they are not closely related. The holotype was collected in 104–110 m, the second deepest depth record for a species of Petroscirtes. Discovery of this new species, and an apparently second new deep-water Petroscrites (uncollected), at a different Fijian reef indicates that our knowledge of the biodiversity of this habitat and of the saber-toothed blennies is very incomplete.


  1. Bath, H. & Miroz, A. (1997) Unusual specimen of Petroscirtes ancylodon Rüppell from Eilat with remarks on blenniid fish depth distributions (Pisces: Blenniidae). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie A (Biologie) 561, 1–4.

    Ehrlich, P.R. (1975) The population biology of coral reef fishes. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 6, 211–247.

    Helden, L. von & Wirtz, P. (1985) A comparison of Blennius ocellaris L. 1758, B. riodourenses Metzelaar 1919, and B. normani Poll 1949 (Pisces, Blenniidae). Spixiana, 8 (2), 197–217.

    Pyle, R.L. (1996a) Exploring deep coral reefs: How much coral reef biodiversity are we missing? Global Biodiversity, 6 (1), 3–7.

    Pyle, R.L. (1996b) The twilight zone. Natural History, 105 (11), 59–62.

    Pyle, R.L. (1999) Mixed-gas, closed-circuit rebreather use for identification of new reef fish species from 200–500 fsw. In: Hamilton R.W., Pence D.F., & Kesling, D.E. (Eds.) Assessment and Feasibility of Technical Diving Operations for Scientific Exploration. American Academy of Underwater Sciences, Nahant, Massachusetts, pp. 53–65.

    Pyle, R.L. (2000) Assessing undiscovered fish biodiversity on deep coral reefs using advanced self-contained diving technology. Marine Technology Society Journal, 34 (4), 82–91.

    Sale, P., ed. (1991) The Ecology of Fishes on Coral Reefs. San Diego, California, Academic Press, 754 pp.

    Smith-Vaniz, W.F. (1976) The saber-toothed blennies, tribe Nemophini (Pisces: Blenniidae). Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia Monograph, 19, 1–196.

    Smith-Vaniz, W.F. (1987) The saber-toothed blennies, Tribe Nemophini (Pisces: Blenniidae): an update. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 139, 1–52.

    Yatsu, A., Iwata, A. & Sato, M. (1983) First records of the blenniid fishes, Petroscirtes springeri and Petroscirtes variabilis, from Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology, 30 (3), 297–300.