Meet Halichoeres gurrobyi, a new cool-looking wrasse species from Mauritius. This new labrid fish species is found in the southwestern Indian Ocean and features bright yellow horizontal striped on its body and a signature black spot at the caudal-fin base leading to its common name Blacksaddle Wrasse.
Recently documented and described in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation by Benjamin Victor, H. gurrobyi is part of the yellow-striped initial-phase species complex of Halichoeres, comprising several species found in the Indo-Pacific, including the type species for the genus Halichoeres Rüppell.
Named for Chabiraj (Yam) Gurroby, in recognition of his 35 years of efforts in observing and collecting the fishes of Mauritius. He operates Ornamental Marine World Ltd. with his children Mohesh and Meneeka Gurroby. You might remember Meneeka from MACNA 2014 in Denver who gave a great presentation on her family-run fish collecting business in Mauritius.
Halichoeres gurrobyi has been seen from time-to-time in the aquarium trade thanks to Ornamental Marine World. However, it still is a bit of a mystery as there isn’t much information available regarding its habitat and lifestyle. From the description, the fish documented came from Grand Bay in Mauritius, and were collected around 12–22 meters deep.
The research article notes that two of the closest relatives of Halichoeres gurrobyi also are found in Mauritius the H. zeylonicus and the rare deep-reef H. pelicieri. It also noted the initial-phases of these species are similar and have been confused, but the DNA barcoding completed for this research shows three distinct DNA lineages. But the research also notes the terminal-phase male of H. gurrobyi is unknown at this time.
We are looking forward to learning more about this species and seeing them in person.