New Genus and Species Discovered in North Sulawesi, Indonesia – Symphysanodontidae aureolateralis



A new genus and species of the percoid family Symphysanodontidae, Cymatognathus aureolateralis are described based on three specimens collected from North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The new species shares characteristics with the confamilial genus Sym-physanodon and the fish has been given the common name, Wavy Jaw Slopefish for it’s wavy lower jaw and well-developed outer tooth patches.  The three fish were caught on hook and line and there not much information about how deep these fish were collected but a photograph of this fish was taken at a depth of about 654 feet (200 meters).

The wavy lower jaw of Cymatognathus. Credit: Kimura et al. 2017

The wavy lower jaw of Cymatognathus. Credit: Kimura et al. 2017


The new species is distinguishable from members of Symphysanodon by the following diagnostic characters: posterior tip of coronoid process of dentary abruptly depressed, so that teeth on anterior portion appear as an elevated patch, anterior tip of upper jaw not notched, and posterior nostril horizontally slit-like.
Although the new species superficially resembles the members of the genus Giganthias (Giganthiidae) and some members of the subfamily Anthiadinae (Serranidae) in the unique characters it shares with Symphysanodon, it differs from Giganthias in having the above-mentioned unique pterygiophore insertion pattern and tips of all dorsal- and pelvic-fin spines smooth (vs. pterygiophore insertion pattern 0/0/2/1+1/1/, and tips of second, third and/or fourth dorsal- and pelvic-fin spines serrated), and from the members of Anthiadinae in having two flat opercular spines (vs. three) and 10 + 15 = 25 vertebrae (vs. 10 + 16–18 = 26–28). A revised diagnosis of the Symphysanodontidae is presented.
With just three specimens known, there’s much we have yet to learn about this exciting new species. For instance, what is the significance of its unique wavy jaw shape and bulky frame… how widespread is C. aureolateralis in the Indo-Pacific… how deep does it occur… and why have we only just now found it? How does a fish this colorful escape notice for so long?
This newest species and genus of Anthias was described by Kimura et. al in the latest volume of ZooTaxa. 
  • Kimura, S., Johnson, G. D., Peristiwady, T. and K. Matsuura. 2017. A new genus and species of the family Symphysanodontidae, Cymatognathus aureolateralis (Actinopterygii: Perciformes) from Indonesia. Zootaxa 4277 (1): 051–066.

About Author

Scott Groseclose is the owner of AquaNerd, Aquarium Specialty, Aqua Specialty Wholesale, BioTek Marine, & The Carolina Reef Experience. He has a degree in Biology from St. Andrews University and he has been a passionate reef keeper since 1988.