Distribution and habitat. The species is currently known only from the type locality, about 80 km southwest of the town of Kaimana, West Papua Province, Indonesia. The habitat consists of a gently sloping bottom with clean white sand and was well-removed (more than 100 m) from reef habitat, in an area exposed to periodic strong currents, at a depth of about 10–20 m. An estimated 20 individuals were observed in an area approximately 30 m2. They were seen mainly in pairs (Figs. 4 & 5), but occasionally solitary, although invariably associated with an unidentified snapping shrimp of the genus Alpheus that share the burrows (Fig. 5), a symbiotic relationship found in all Vanderhorstia spp.Comparisons.
The new species belongs to the ornatissima group of Vanderhorstia, which includes Vanderhorstia ornatissima Smith, 1959 from the western Indian Ocean (Fig. 6A), and two species from the western Pacific region: Vanderhorstia wayag Allen & Erdmann, 2012 (Fig. 6B) and Vanderhorstia phaeosticta (Randall, Shao & Shen, 2007) (Fig. 7). The members of the group possess similar color patterns and usual counts of 13 dorsal-fin and anal-fin rays. Vanderhorstia dawnarnallae differs from V. ornatissima and V. wayag in possessing fewer lateral scales (47–49 vs. 57–65) and also in color pattern, particularly yellow spots on the body (vs. none in the latter two species); the absence of a pair of small dark spots on the upper and lower pectoral-fin base (vs. present); and fewer dark markings (vs. more dark brown or reddish-brown spots on the side of the body).
Citation: Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V. & Mongdong, M.U. (2019)
Vanderhorstia dawnarnallae, a new species of shrimpgoby (Pisces: Gobiidae) from West Papua, Indonesia. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation