Order HOLOCENTRIFORMES (Squirrelfishes and Soldierfishes)

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v. 2.0 – 9 June 2017  view/download PDF

Family HOLOCENTRIDAE Squirrelfishes and Soldierfishes
8 genera • 89 species    

Subfamily HOLOCENTRINAE Squirrelfishes

Holocentrus Scopoli 1777    holos, whole; centron, thorn or spine, referring to sharp spines almost everywhere on body

Holocentrus adscensionis (Osbeck 1765)    -is, genitive singular of: Ascension Island, South Atlantic, type locality (Osbeck consistently spelled it with a “d ”)

Holocentrus rufus (Walbaum 1792)    reddish, referring to its silvery red coloration

Neoniphon Castelnau 1875    neo-, new, described as “nearly allied” in general form to Niphon (Perciformes: Serranidae), i.e., a new Niphon

Neoniphon argenteus (Valenciennes 1831)    silvery, referring to brilliant silver reflections on “whitish” (translation) sides (silvery in life, “whitish” may refer to its color in spirits)

Neoniphon aurolineatus (Liénard 1839)    aureus, gold; lineatus, lined, referring to yellow or golden stripes following scale rows

Neoniphon marianus (Cuvier 1829)    latinization of Marian, a Caribbean name for this species, meaning tough and lean, i.e., a fish of much bone and little flesh

Neoniphon opercularis (Valenciennes 1831)    presumably referring to the smallness of its opercular and preopercular spines (“la petitesse des épines du préopercule et de l’opercule”)

Neoniphon pencei Copus, Pyle & Earle 2015    in honor of David F. Pence, Dive Safety Officer for the University of Hawai‘i, a member of the deep-diving team that discovered this species, for his efforts to collect the type specimens

Neoniphon sammara (Forsskål 1775)    Arabic name for this species, derived from Msammer or M’sámmer

Neoniphon vexillarium (Poey 1860)    pertaining to a banner, presumably referring to spinous dorsal fin, with a black vertical bar behind each ray

Sargocentron Fowler 1904    sargos, Greek name of White Seabream, Diplodus sargus (Spariformes: Sparidae), allusion not explained, perhaps reflecting fact that squirrelfishes are sometimes called porgies (as are sparids); centron, thorn or spine, presumably referring to coarsely serrated preopercular spine of S. spiniferum

Sargocentron borodinoense Kotlyar 2017    ensis, suffix denoting place: Borodino submarine elevation, Philippine Sea, type locality

Sargocentron bullisi (Woods 1955)    in honor of marine biologist Harvey R. Bullis, Jr., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who collected type

Sargocentron caudimaculatum (Rüppell 1838)    caudus, tail; maculatum, spotted, referring to silvery white spot (often disappearing after death) dorsally on caudal peduncle at end of dorsal-fin base

Sargocentron cornutum (Bleeker 1854)    horned, referring to “outwardly turned thorn of the eye socket” (translation), i.e., preopercular spine

Sargocentron coruscum (Poey 1860)    sparkling, presumably referring to bright steel-blue reflections on edges of scales

Sargocentron diadema (Lacepède 1802)    a cloth headband, sometimes adorned with jewels, formerly worn by monarchs in Asia Minor and other parts of the East, referring to black and white bands on anterior part of dorsal fin

Sargocentron dorsomaculatum (Shimizu & Yamakawa 1979)    dorso-, dorsal; maculatum, spotted, referring to black blotch on dorsal-fin membranes between first and third spines

Sargocentron ensifer (Jordan & Evermann 1903)    ensis, sword; fero-, to bear, referring to a “long, strong, dagger-like spine,” one each above opercle and below preopercle

Sargocentron hastatum (Cuvier 1829)    armed with a spear, referring to its strong preopercular spine

Sargocentron hormion Randall 1998    Greek for necklace or string of things, referring to conspicuous series of six white spots anteriorly in red spinous part of dorsal fin

Sargocentron inaequale Randall & Heemstra 1985    unequal, referring to variable lengths of small spines on posterior margin of preopercle

Sargocentron iota Randall 1998    smallest letter of Greek alphabet and hence often referring to anything small; one of the smallest members of the genus, not exceeding 80 mm SL

Sargocentron ittodai (Jordan & Fowler 1902)    Japanese name for this species, from itto, number one among many, presumably referring to its beauty, and tai, porgie, a common name sometimes applied to members of this genus

Sargocentron lepros (Allen & Cross 1983)    scaly or rough, referring to rough body texture imparted by strongly serrate scale margins

Sargocentron macrosquamis Golani 1984    macro-, large; squamis, scale, referring to large scales on posterior portion of operculum

Sargocentron marisrubri Randall, Golani & Diamant 1989    maris, sea; rubrus, red, referring to the Red Sea, where it is endemic

Sargocentron megalops Randall 1998    mega-, large; ops, eye, referring to its “exceptionally large” eyes

Sargocentron melanospilos (Bleeker 1858)    melanos, black; spilos, stain or spot, referring to large oval black spot on scaled basal part of soft portion of dorsal fin and adjacent back

Sargocentron microstoma (Günther 1859)    micro-, small; stoma, mouth, referring to small mouth compared to most congeners then placed in Holocentrus

Sargocentron poco (Woods 1965)    in honor of Mary Ann “Poco” Holloway, who prepared illustrations for many species of squirrelfishes [presumably a noun in apposition without the matronymic “ae”]

Sargocentron praslin (Lacepède 1802)    named for Port Praslin, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, type locality [apparently different from but near the Port Praslin for which Myripristis pralinia (see below) is named]

Sargocentron punctatissimum (Cuvier 1829)    very spotted, referring to very fine purplish dots on scales, “similar to the stings of flies” (translation)

Sargocentron rubrum (Forsskål 1775)    red, referring to dark-red body and dorsal surface with eight longitudinal white-red bands on sides and two longitudinal red bands on first dorsal fin

Sargocentron seychellense (Smith & Smith 1963)    ensis, suffix denoting place: Seychelles, type locality and where it commonly occurs

Sargocentron shimizui Randall 1998    in honor of Takeshi Shimizu, for his systematic research on the Holocentridae and for providing the illustrations used in Randall’s monograph

Sargocentron spiniferum (Forsskål 1775)    spinus, spine; ferum, bearer, referring to its very long preopercular spine

Sargocentron spinosissimum (Temminck & Schlegel 1843)    very spiny, referring to numerous small spines on head

Sargocentron suborbitale (Gill 1863)    suborbital (below the eye), referring to a curved streak from tip of snout below eye and around it, “bright silvery and immaculate”

Sargocentron tiere (Cuvier 1829)    local name for this species in Tahiti (type locality)

Sargocentron tiereoides (Bleeker 1853)    oides, having the form of: referring to similarity and/or close relationship to S. tiere

Sargocentron violaceum (Bleeker 1853)    violet-colored, referring to purplish-red color in life, with purplish cheek scales, light purplish-red dorsal-fin spine, and light purplish-red rays on remaining fins

Sargocentron wilhelmi (de Buen 1963)    in honor of Chilean biologist Ottmar E. Wilhelm (1898-1974), who collected many fishes at Easter Island (including specimens of this species) and provided good color photographs of them

Sargocentron xantherythrum (Jordan & Evermann 1903)    xanthos, yellow and erythrum, red; Jordan & Jordan (1922) acknowledged name is a misnomer since species has white (not yellow) stripes across a bright-red body


Subfamily MYRIPRISTINAE Soldierfishes        

Corniger Agassiz 1831    horn-bearing, presumably referring to three large, backward-pointing spines below each eye

Corniger spinosus Agassiz 1831    spiny, presumably referring to any or all of the following: three backward-pointing spines under each eye, spines on snout, strong spines on preopercle and opercle, and strong dorsal- and anal-fin spines

Myripristis Cuvier 1829    myrios, ten thousand and pristis, saw; according to Cuvier and Valenciennes (1829): “We give this genus the name of Myripristis, which means ten-thousand saws, because of all the pieces that cover the cheek and operculum, and all the scales with their serrated edges, for that is what strikes one most as the primary character of these singular fishes” (translation)

Myripristis adusta Bleeker 1853    swarthy, presumably referring to black outer border of dorsal, anal and caudal fins

Myripristis amaena (Castelnau 1873)    pleasant or agreeable, presumably referring to its colors in life, which Castelnau (working from preserved juveniles) surmised were “very brilliant”

Myripristis astakhovi Kotlyar 1997    in honor of Dmitry Alekseevich Astakhov, friend and colleague in the Laboratory of Oceanic Ichthyofauna, Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, who collected and provided holocentrid fishes from Viêt Nam

Myripristis aulacodes Randall & Greenfield 1996    Greek for furrowed, referring to narrow but deep mucous channels on top of head

Myripristis berndti Jordan & Evermann 1903    in honor of Louis E. Berndt, superintendent of the Honolulu (type locality) fish market

Myripristis botche Cuvier 1829    Botche, its local name at Vizagapatam on the Coromandel Coast of India, as reported by Russell (1803)

Myripristis chryseres Jordan & Evermann 1903    golden, referring to its golden (or yellow) dorsal, caudal and anal fins

Myripristis clarionensis Gilbert 1897    ensis, suffix denoting place: Clarion Island, one of the Revillagigedo Islands off western Mexico, where type was “captured by a booby bird, but was still in good condition when taken by us”

Myripristis earlei Randall, Allen & Robertson 2003    in honor of John L. Earle, Association for Marine Exploration, who first suspected this species differed from M. berndti, collected a specimen of the latter in the Marquesas, and provided an underwater photograph used in the description

Myripristis formosa Randall & Greenfield 1996    Latin for beautiful, described as “beautifully colored”; also named for Formosa, or Taiwan, type locality

Myripristis gildi Greenfield 1965    in honor of Greenfield’s wife, Gildi, “whose efforts in translating numerous foreign publications have added considerably” to his revision of the genus [presumably a noun in apposition, without the matronymic “ae”]

Myripristis greenfieldi Randall & Yamakawa 1996    in honor of ichthyologist David W. Greenfield, for his published and current research on the genus

Myripristis hexagona (Lacepède 1802)    referring to its body shape, which Lacepède said resembled that of an elongate hexagon

Myripristis jacobus Cuvier 1829    latinization of James, referring to its local name Frère-Jacques (Brother Jim) in Martinique (type locality)

Myripristis kochiensis Randall & Yamakawa 1996    ensis, suffix denoting place: Kochi Prefecture, Japan, type locality (where fishermen caught them with gill nets)

Myripristis kuntee Valenciennes 1831    from Sullanaroo-kuntee, a local name for M. murdjan (which Valenciennes confused with this species) at Vizagapatam on the Coromandel Coast of India, as reported by Russell (1803)

Myripristis leiognathus Valenciennes 1846    leios, smooth; gnathus, jaw, referring to lack of serrations at angle of maxilla

Myripristis murdjan (Forsskål 1775)    murdjân, Arabic name for this species

Myripristis pralinia Cuvier 1829    ia, belonging to: presumably a latinized, variant or incorrect spelling of Praslin, referring to Port Praslin (correctly spelled by Cuvier), New Ireland Island, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea, type locality [apparently different from but near the Port Praslin for which Sargocentron praslin (see above) is named]

Myripristis randalli Greenfield 1974    in honor of ichthyologist John E. Randall, Bishop Museum (Honolulu), who furnished type material and recognized it as a distinctive species; his “continued interest in holocentrids has resulted in many series of valuable specimens of Myripristis from the Pacific which he has collected as well as excellent color transparencies of many species”

Myripristis robusta Randall & Greenfield 1996     named for its robust shape, both deep- and thick-bodied

Myripristis seychellensis Cuvier 1829    ensis, suffix denoting place: Seychelles, western Indian Ocean, type locality

Myripristis tiki Greenfield 1974    Maori word for image, commonly used for wooden or stone carvings in humanoid form, in this case referring to the Mo‘ai monolithic human figures on Easter Island, type locality (David W. Greenfield, pers. comm.)

Myripristis trachyacron Bleeker 1863     trachys, rough; akron, top or summit, referring to the roughness of its skull

Myripristis violacea Bleeker 1851    violet-colored, referring to upper-body coloration

Myripristis vittata Valenciennes 1831    banded, referring (per Valenciennes) to 5-6 blackish longitudinal bands on sides; however, species is a nearly uniform red or orange-red in life with only faint stripes on body due to slightly paler scale centers

Myripristis woodsi Greenfield 1974    in honor of Loren P. Woods, Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), who first recognized that this species comprised a distinctive species group; Woods “laid the foundations” for Greenfield’s revision, while his “extensive knowledge of the holocentrids, combined with his many helpful suggestions, made [Greenfield’s] task a much lighter one”

Myripristis xanthacra Randall & Guézé 1981    xanthos, yellow; akros, tip or at the end, referring to distal yellow areas on soft dorsal fin, anal fin and caudal-fin lobes

Ostichthys Cuvier 1829    osteo-, bone; ichthys, fish, allusion not explained, perhaps referring to well-developed nasal bones of adult O. japonicus (and congeners) [manuscript name coined by Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff [1774-1852], Prussian naturalist and diplomat in Japan, who collected type; mentioned in passing by Cuvier, resurrected by Jordan & Evermann (1896), who are often credited as its authors]

Ostichthys acanthorhinus Randall, Shimizu & Yamakawa 1982    acanthos, thorn or spine; rhinus, nose, referring to sharp spine on each nasal bone

Ostichthys archiepiscopus (Valenciennes 1862)    archbishop, presumably alluding to Cardinal, its French vernacular name on Bourbon Island (type locality, now known as Réunion, east of Madagascar)

Ostichthys brachygnathus Randall & Myers 1993    brachy, short; gnathus, jaw, referring to short upper jaw compared to congeners

Ostichthys convexus Greenfield, Randall & Psomadakis 2017    convex, referring to convex front of head

Ostichthys daniela Greenfield, Randall & Psomadakis 2017    named for Daniela Basili, the third author’s wife [a noun in apposition, without the matronymic “ae”]

Ostichthys delta Randall, Shimizu & Yamakawa 1982    fourth letter of Greek alphabet (∆), referring to near-triangular shape of vomerine tooth patch

Ostichthys hypsipterygion Randall, Shimizu & Yamakawa 1982    hypselos, high; pterygion, diminutive of pteryx, fin, referring to high spinous dorsal fin

Ostichthys japonicus (Cuvier 1829)    Japanese, referring to country where Langsdorff (see genus) first encountered the species

Ostichthys kaianus (Günther 1880)    anus, belonging to: Kai Islands, Indonesia, eastern Indian Ocean, type locality

Ostichthys kinchi Fricke 2017    in honor of Jeff Kinch (b. 1965), Principal of the National Fisheries College in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, and founder of the Nago Island Mariculture and Research Facility, which hosted the 2014 Kavieng marine biodiversity expedition; he was instrumental in the success of the expedition, which discovered several new fish and numerous new invertebrate species, including this one

Ostichthys ovaloculus Randall & Wrobel 1988    ovalis, egg-shaped or oval; oculus, eye, referring to distinctive oval-to-elliptical shape of eye

Ostichthys sandix Randall, Shimizu & Yamakawa 1982    vermilion or red, referring to light-red coloration in life

Ostichthys sheni Chen, Shao & Mok 1990    in honor of S. C. Shen, National Taiwan University, for his contribution to fish taxonomy in Taiwan; he also gave “precious opinions about undetermined species”

Ostichthys sufensis Golani 1984    ensis, suffix denoting place: Yam Suf (Sea of Reeds), Hebrew name for Red Sea, where it is endemic

Ostichthys trachypoma (Günther 1859)    trachys, rough; poma, lid or covering, referring to spines covering opercle and a “rather strong spinous prominence” on operculum

Plectrypops Gill 1862    plectrum, spur; ops, eye, referring to preopercle armed with three strong teeth curved forward

Plectrypops lima (Valenciennes 1831)    file or rasp; “the fish is like a rasp” (translation), referring to its coarsely ctenoid scales

Plectrypops retrospinis (Guichenot 1853)    retro, backward; spina, spine, referring to preopercle armed with three strong teeth curved forward (hence making name a misnomer)

Pristilepis Randall, Shimizu & Yamakawa 1982    pristis, saw; lepis, scale, referring to its coarsely ctenoid scales

Pristilepis oligolepis (Whitley 1941)    oligo-, few; lepis, scales, referring to fewer scales compared to presumed congeners in Holotrachys (=Plectrypops)