Acanthopagrus oconnorae, a new species of seabream (Sparidae) from the Red Sea

Lucía Pombo-Ayora, Viktor N. Peinemann, Collin T. Williams, Song He*, Yu Jia Lin, Yukio Iwatsuki, Donal D.C. Bradley, Michael L. Berumen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A new species of sparid fish, Acanthopagrus oconnorae, is described based on 11 specimens collected in the shallow (0–1 m depth) mangrove-adjacent sandflats of Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: second anal-fin spine 12.8%–16.6% of standard length (SL); 3½ scale rows between the fifth dorsal-fin spine and lateral line; suborbital width 5.7%–6.7% of SL; eyes positioned at the anterior edge of the head, often forming a weakly convex break in an otherwise gently curved head profile, when viewed laterally; caudal fin light yellow with black posterior margin (approximately half of fin); anal fin dusky grey, with posterior one-fifth of the fin light yellow; black streaks on inter-radial membranes of anal fin absent. The most similar species to A. oconnorae is Acanthopagrus vagus, which differs by the presence of a w-shaped anterior edge of the scaled predorsal area, a more acute snout and black streaks on the inter-radial membranes of the anal fin. Phylogenetic placement and species delimitation of A. oconnorae are discussed based on COI, CytB and 16S sequences. It is hypothesized that ecology and behaviour explain how this species avoided detection despite its likely occurrence in coastal areas of the Red Sea with historically high fishing pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-897
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of fish biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • biodiversity
  • new species
  • phylogeny
  • Red Sea
  • seabream
  • Sparidae
  • taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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