New species of the month: the hoodwinker sunfish

As part of her PhD, Marianne Nyegaard analysed genetic samples from the genus Mola. Previously thought to contain two species (M. mola and M. ramsayi), her research has confirmed the existence of a third: M. tecta

Taxonomic background:

The family Molidae consists of three genera and four species.

Distribution: 

M. tecta is found in the waters around Southeast Australia. However, it is possible that the hoodwinker sunfish will be found in the temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere.

Size: 

The total length of M. tecta is 50-242 cm

Conservation: 

Unknown conservation status. M. mola is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. M. ramsayi has not yet been assessed

 

References: 

Nyegaard M., Sawai E., Gemmell N., Gillum J., Loneragan Y. Y., Stewart A. L. 2017. Hiding in broad daylight: molecular and morphological data reveal a new ocean sunfish species (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae) that has eluded recognition. Zool J Linn Soc zlx040. doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlx040

Liu, J., Zapfe, G., Shao, K.-T., Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Hardy, G., Liu, M., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. 2015. Mola mola. (errata version published in 2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T190422A97667070. Downloaded on 21 July 2017.

Further reading: 

https://theconversation.com/the-four-year-treasure-hunt-for-the-hoodwinker-sunfish-81265

 

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