Vol. 82, pp. 477-488 17 November 1969 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON A NEW PUFFER FISH, SPHOEROIDES PARVUS, FROM THE WESTERN GULF OF MEXICO, WITH A KEY TO SPECIES OF SPHOEROIDES FROM THE ATLANTIC AND GULF COASTS OF THE UNITED STATES By Robert L. Shipp and Ralph W. Yerger Department of RioJogieal Science Florida State Uriiversity, Tallahassee, Florida Our taxonomic studies of the puffers (family Tetraodonti-dae ) in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters have revealed that the dominant inshore representative of the genus Sphoeroi-d£s Anonymous in the western Gulf of Mexico is an un-described and endemic species. This discovery is especially rel-evant to the controversy concerning the relationship of the fish faunas of the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico. Baughman (1950: 118), Ginsburg (1952: 101), and Briggs (1958: 244) considered the faunas to be relatively distinct, and the latter author cited ecological evidence from Hedgpeth (1954: 206) to justify this view. Hildebrand ( 1954 : 232 ) held the opposite opinion, and pointed to the apparent lack of evidence for en-demic forms in the western Gulf of Mexico. We are grateful to the following persons and their institu-tions (with abbreviations used in this paper) for loan of material: James C. Tyler, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP); Frederick H. Berry, (formerly of) U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Brunswick, Georgia (BLBG); Donald Moore, U. S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Galves-ton, Texas (BLGT); Charles E. Dawson, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL); Royal D. Suttkus, Tulane University (TU); Victor G. Springer, Smithsonian Institution (USNM); Herbert T. Boschung, University of Alabama ( UA ) ; Carter R. %, Gilbert, University of Florida (UF); Henry FI. Hildebrand, ■■■\ f^ 38— Pboc. Biol. Soc. Wash., Vol. 82, 1969 (477) '""