jawfish illustration
Jawfish, Opistognathus ensiferus.

Illustration by Jack R. Schroeder

Our ichthyology Research Associate William Smith-Vaniz has described a new species of jawfish, Opistognathus ensiferus, in a paper published in Zootaxa on Nov. 22, 2016. This small jawfish was described from a single specimen from the Gulf of Mannar, the body of water directly between India and Sri Lanka.

Bill is a serious and prolific systematist who has produced a great deal of quality papers describing many jawfishes, and he just recently published a paper describing 21 new species of Owstonia (often commonly called bandfish) with David Johnson of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.


Side note

Variations of the Owstonia name can be found in marine species, as well as amphibians and reptiles, and several birds. Alan Owston was a businessman who worked in Japan in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was also an amateur naturalist who was vastly interested in wildlife, and collected a great variety of specimens from the region. Much of his collections can now be found in museums around the world. They act as a snapshot of the biodiversity of the region of Japan and China that he worked and lived in.

Learn more about the Ichthyology Collection at the Florida Museum.

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