Antilligobius nikkiae is a new genus and species of deep water reef gobies

By on Apr 19, 2012

Antilligobius nikkiae, the sabre goby which was discovered by deep water collectors in Curaçao. Photo by Barry Brown

Antilligobius nikkiae is the name of the deep water sabre goby that was first reported by collectors in Curacao. Not only is the sabre goby a new genus and species to science, it was also discovered in our own tropical backyard of the Caribbean Sea and Antilligobius nikkiae has also been reported from Puerto Rico. Before ichthyologist even got their hands on it the sabre goby was being sold to the aquarium trade in extremely limited numbers for over a thousand dollars, which is actually not a bad deal for such an interesting fish with beautiful markings, color and unique finnage.

Two specimens of Antilligobius nikkiae photographed in Puerto Rico at a depth of 90 m (295 ft). P. Collins

Some characteristics of the new Antilligobius genus include the elongated first dorsal fin in both sexes, and an asymmetrical caudal fin with the top rays being much shorter than some of the bottom ones, forming what appears to be a notch in the tail. The new Antilligobius nikkiae is so far only known from deep water habitats near Puerto Rico and Curaçao, at a depth of almost 300 feet in the former, and almost 600 feet deep at the latter location. Antilligobius is most closely related to gobies in the Bollmania and Parallela genera but the bold yellow stripe of Antilligobius nikkiae easily differentiates it from the drab species of Bollmania and Parallela.

Antilligobius nikkiae is described by Dr. James Van Tassel et. al. in the April 2012 issue of Aqua.

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