Navigobius vittatus is a new species of deepwater dartfish that has just been described from specimens collected around Borneo. Navigobius dewa kicked off this exciting genus of dartfish several years ago and since then, several more undescribed species of these goby like fish have been discovered from the Philippines to the Maldives.
Like the shallower water firefish of the Nemateleotris genus, the Navigobius are endowed with graceful, slender body, well ornamented finnage, and delicate shades of pink, blue and yellow colors. Navigobius vittatus is only the second species in the genus, and so far appears to be the smallest of the species, described and undescribed.
The newly minted Navigobius vittatus is distinguished by being the smallest member of the group so far, at a maximum size of just 23 mm standard length, or barely an inch long if you count the tail. Speaking of which, N. vittatus has quite the caudal fin with a well scalloped lyretail that terminates into rather long filaments.
The small size and highly decorated nature of N. vittatus puts it in line with similar dwarf dartfish from the Aioliops and Parioglossus genera. The dwarf dartfish Parioglossus winterbottomi is also well endowed but coming from India, it is unlikely to ever be confused for the new Brunei dartfish.
Like all dartfishes, the Navigobius have a very clearly seperated first and second dorsal fins and in N. vittatus the first dorsal fin rays also possess some small filamentous extensions. The body of N. vittatus is somewhat on the pale side, but the light yellow fins are traversed by bluish lavender lines.
The new Brunei dartfish was observed schooling in aggregations of 10 to 50 fish, over a gradual reef slope at a depth of between 28 to 30 meters, or 90 to 100 feet – this is moderately deep but still well within the range of recreational scuba diving protocols. Although Navigobius vittatus came to the attention of the scientific community through collection of specimens in Brunei, this new dartfish came to the attention of the aquarium hobby from specimens photographed in Japan by contributors to Trimma.net.
Like so many other unusual fish before it, Navigobius vittatus is not the first fish to come to light in the aquarium world before being officially recognized by science. As we’ve written before, there’s still a couple more undescribed species yet to be officiated into the genus and we really hope to see even more of the elegant species of Navigobius dartifish.
The Brunei dartfish Navigobius vittatus is described by Allen, Erdmann & Cahyani in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.