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  • Aseraggodes holcomi, a New Sole (Pleuronectiformes: Soleidae) from the Hawaiian Islands
  • John E. Randall

The soleid fish Aseraggodes holcomi, the third Hawaiian species of the genus, is described from six specimens collected off O'ahu, from sand in 0.6-27 m. It is distinct in having 68-72 dorsal-fin rays, 47-50 anal-fin rays, 76-80 lateral-line scales, the snout not overlapping the lower lip, and in its small size (largest, 58.6 mm SL, a mature female).

Gilbert (1905) described two new species of Symphurus from deep water as the first representatives of the family Soleidae for the Hawaiian Islands. These fishes, popularly called tonguefishes, are now placed in a separate family, Cynoglossidae. Gosline and Brock (1960) added the first true soleid to the Hawaiian fish fauna, which they "very provisionally identified" as the Japanese Aseraggodes kobensis (Steindachner). Randall (1996) showed that their kobensis is a new species, naming it A. therese, and described another shallow-water species, A. borehami. Both are nocturnal and usually bury beneath sand in caves during the day. It is therefore easy to understand why they were overlooked for so many years.

Fellow diver Ronald Holcom surprised J.E.R. by collecting a sole in 10 m at Pūpūkea on the north shore of O'ahu in 1997 that he thought was different in color from A. borehami and A. therese. J.E.R. confirmed that it is indeed different, not only by its color but by its lateral-line scale count of 77 (at most 66 in therese and 70 in borehami). Holcom collected three more specimens off Pūpūkea, two of which were caught in 27 m. Darrell Takaoka collected the largest specimen, 58.6 mm SL, shortly after midnight at Ala Moana Beach Park in only 0.6 m. David W. Greenfield and J.E.R. collected one additional specimen from Kāne'ohe Bay in 2 m. A review of the literature reveals that this third species of the genus Aseraggodes from Hawai'i is also undescribed.

Materials and Methods

Type specimens of the new species have been deposited in the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu (BPBM), Calfornia Academy of Sciences, San Francisco (CAS), Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN), National Science Museum of Tokyo (NSMT), and the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. (USNM).

Lengths recorded for specimens are standard length (SL), measured from the front of the head at the base of the anterior dorsal-fin rays to the midbase of the caudal fin; body depth is the maximum depth from the base of the dorsal rays to the base of the anal rays; body thickness is the maximum thickness between the ocular and blind surfaces (but not over the abdomen); head length is measured on the ocular side from the upper end of the gill opening to the front of the head at the base of the dorsal rays; snout length is taken from the same anterior point to the front of the upper eye; eye diameter is the horizontal diameter of the upper eye (the dark eyeball, not the fleshy outer cutaneous part); inter-orbital width is the least width between the dark edges of the two eyes; upper-jaw length is measured on the blind side from the front of the upper lip to the rear of the maxilla; caudal-peduncle depth is the least depth, and caudal-peduncle length the horizontal distance between the rear base of the anal fin [End Page 247] and the base of the caudal fin; predorsal, preanal, and prepelvic lengths are measured from the base of the first ray of these fins to the most anterior point of the upper lip; lengths of dorsal and anal rays are measured from the extreme base of the rays to the tips without trying to straighten the rays; caudal-fin length is the length of the longest median ray; pelvic-fin length is the length of the longest ray on the ocular side. Lateral-line scales are counted on the ocular side from directly above the upper end of the gill opening to the base of the caudal fin; the counts...