Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Xenisthmus clarus</I> from holotype of <I>Xenisthmus proriger</I>

Xenisthmus clarus from holotype of Xenisthmus proriger


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CAAB: 37429000



Compiler and date details

9 April 2012 - Douglass F. Hoese


Xenisthmids are restricted to the tropical regions of the Indian Ocean and western and central Pacific oceans. Five genera are currently recognised — Allomicrodesmus, Paraxenisthmus, Rotuma, Tyson and Xenisthmus — and 10 described species. All except Paraxenisthmus and Xenisthmus are regarded as monotypic. Gill (2001) provided a key to genera. In Australia, three genera and seven species have been recorded and an additional species from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is included. The family is currently under study by A.C. Gill and it is likely that the number of species will exceed 30.

Members of the Xenisthmidae are characterised by having a projecting lower jaw and, apparently, the habit of diving head first into sand. They are all known from coral reefs from the intertidal to depths of over 30 m and are small sized, rarely exceeding 3.5 cm in length.

Relationships of the Xenisthmidae are uncertain, but they have been studied by several workers including Springer (1983, 1988), Hoese (1984) and Gill & Hoese (1993); based on these studies xenisthmids are believed to be closest to eleotrids. Thacker & Hardman (2005), however, provided evidence, based on molecular work, that the group is closest to Gobiidae (as Gobiinae). Subsequently Thacker (2009) placed the group within the Eleotrinae and Agorreta et al. (2013) placed the group close to the Eleotrinae.


General References

Agorreta, A., San Mauro, D., Schliewen, U., Van Tassell, J.L., Kovačić, M., Zardoya, R. & Rüber, L. 2013. Molecular phylogenetics of Gobioidei and phylogenetic placement of European gobies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69(3): 619–633

Gill, A.C. 2001. Xenisthmidae. pp. 3605-3606 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Gill, A.C. & Hoese, D.F. 1993. Paraxenisthmus springeri, new genus and species of gobioid fish from the west Pacific, and its phylogenetic position within the Xenisthmidae. Copeia 1993: 1049-1057

Hoese, D.F. 1984. Gobioidei: Relationships. pp. 588-591 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760

Snyder, J.O. 1912. The fishes of Okinawa, one of the Riu Kiu Islands. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 42: 487-519 pls 62-70

Springer, V.G. 1983. Tyson belos, new genus and species of western Pacific fish (Gobiidae, Xenisthminae), with discussions of gobioid osteology and classification. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 390: 1-40

Springer, V.G. 1988. Rotuma lewisi, new genus and species of fish from the southwest Pacific (Gobioidei, Xenisthmidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 101(3): 530-539 figs 1-8

Thacker, C.E. & Hardman, M.A. 2005. Molecular phylogeny of basal gobioid fishes: Rhyacichthyidae, Odontobutidae, Xenisthmidae, Eleotridae (Teleostei: Perciformes: Gobioidei). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 851-871


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
14-May-2015 GOBIOIDEI 07-Apr-2015 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
12-Feb-2010 (import)