Lionfish get a bad rap these days for a single species that is an unwelcome visitor to Caribbean reefs. But the Mombasa lionfish is now represented by two species that know where they belong geographically.
Pterois paucispinula is the new species of “Mombasa” lionfish which now represents the nearly identical Pterois mombasae on the east end of its range. The new Pterois paucispinula is virtually indistinguishable from the mombasa lionfish, differentiated based on subtle differences in body depth, fin ray count and presence of scales on the base of the pectoral fins.
Thankfully, the new “Eastern” mombasa lionfish, Pterois paucispinula is the species which is encountered in the West Pacific ocean from Japan to Palau and Australia. So if you know where the mombasa lionfish is from, you’ll be able to determine if you’re looking at Pterois mombasae or P. paucispinula. [Springer Link]