Memoirs of the Museum of Victoria 48(1): 79-82 (1987)
NEW AUSTRALIAN FISHES. PART 18.
A NEW SPECIES OF COCOTROPUS (APLOACTINIDAE)
By Stuart G. Poss 1 and Gerald R. Allen 2
'Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, MS 39564, U.S.A.
department of Ichthyology, Western Australian Museum, Francis Street, Perth,
W.A., 6000, Australia
Poss, S. G. and Allen, G.R., 1987. New Australian fishes. Part 18. A new species of Cocotropus
(Aploactinidae). Mem. Mus. Vict. 48: 79-82.
A new species of velvetfish (Aploactinidae), Cocolropus larvatus, is described from speci-
mens taken from the Marshall Islands, the Ryukyus, Great Banda Island, and from Christmas
Island in the Indian Ocean. C. larvatus can be distinguished from other species of Cocolropus,
except C. roseus, by its combination of high pectoral, dorsal, and anal counts. It differs from
C. roseus in having a more convex snout profile, a more compressed body, and in coloration.
The new species is the first aploactinid reported from the Central Pacific.
The Aploactinidae contains 30 species belonging
to 15 genera (Poss and Eschmeyer, 1978, 1979,
1980; Poss, 1982). The family is closely related
to the Scorpaenidae and is confined to the
western Pacific and Indian Oceans. Most species
occur in the Australian and Indo-Malaysian
regions. Twelve species and nine genera are cur-
rently known from Australia. Although there is
scant information on their ecology, most appear
to live in crevices on rocky, coral rubble, or coral-
line algae substrata. Some species frequently ap-
pear in trawls.
The present paper describes a new species of
the genus Cocotropus, expanding the largest
genus of velvetfishes to 8 species. In addition to
this new species, the genus contains the follow-
ing taxa: Cocotropus echinatus (Cantor, 1850)
from Malaysia, C. dermacanthus Bleeker, 1852
from Indonesia, C. roseus Day, 1878 from India,
C. altipinnis Waite, 1903 from Lord Howe Island,
C. monacanthus Gilchrist, 1906 from South
Africa, C. masudai Matsubara, 1943 from Japan,
and C. steinitzi Eschmeyer and Dor, 1978 from
Indian Ocean localities. Several closely related
species, previously placed in Cocotropus, have
been transfered to Paraploactis by Poss and Es-
Cocotropus larvatus sp. nov.
Material examined. Holotype: Marshall Is., Kwajalein Atoll,
outside reef off Ennubuj Islet, rubble bottom, caught by hand
under rubble, by day, Scott Johnson, 2 Jun 1983, BPBM 29211
(1 male 49.8 mm SL).
Paratypes: Ryukyu Is. West side of Sesoke Is., on sand and
rubble bottom at base of reef front, 15-18 m, rotenone, J. Ran-
dall and T. Yoshino, 12 Sep 1977, BPBM 22297 (1, 41.2 mm
SL), URM P4282 (2, 36.7, 14.0).
Banda Is. Just west of northern-most tip of Great Banda
Is. (04°30'30"S, 129°56'10"E), stn VGS 74-11, 0-18.3 m, rote-
none, V.G. Springer, 9 Mar 1974, USNM 280267 (1, 34.7).
Christmas Is. (10°26'S, 105°40'E), 35-40 m, rotenone, col-
lected from vertical drop-off, G.R. Allen and R. Steene, 2
Jul 1986, WAM P29008-001 (1, 22.0).
Description. Dorsal XIII, 9(5)*, XIII, 10(1)
(counts for holotype denoted by asterisk; last two
rays borne on one pterygiophore and counted as
one ray, anal II, 8(3), II, 9(3)* (last two rays
counted as one); pectoral 13(1)*, 14(5); pelvic I,
3; vertebrae 27(5)*, 28(1).
Head markedly compressed, and covered with
modified scales, each of which ends in a spinous
point; few scales on snout, none in interorbit.
Dorsal profile of head concave, anterior part in-
clined dorsoposteriorly about 45° from horizon-
tal, posterior part steeper, inclined about 60°