There’s a new leopard wrasse on the books and it’s called Macropharyngodon pakoko. The new leopard wrasse species was described from specimens collected in the Marquesas Islands, a region of the South Pacific Ocean which is well known for it’s localized endemism.
Macropharyngodon pakoko is very similar to the common leopard wrasse M. meleagris which is widespread in the Indo-Pacific but slight coloration differences help to tell the species apart. Males of both species have an overall greenish appearance but while the common leopard wrasse a small earspot that is black with a yellow accent, in the Pakoko leopard wrasse this spot is larger and completely bordered in irridescent blue. Another differentiator is the presence of an irregular U-shaped marking on the cheek and females have a lot more white coloration in between its spots.
For those who attended the recent MACNA Keynote presentation by Luiz Rocha, the description of a new wrasse species from Marquesas is quite timely. During his presentation Dr. Rocha discussed some theories as to why there was a high rate of speciation in the Marquesas and one possible explanation is the higher nutrient environment making the water more greenish, and the appearance of a particular eye pigment that helps enhance vision in this kind of water for the local endemic surgeonfish, Acanthurus reversus. [Biotaxa]