Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37429000



Compiler and date details

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. In Australia, three genera and seven species have been recorded. 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).


General References

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. 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

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


Common Name References

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Guam : Coral Graphics vi 330 pp. 192 pls. [261] (Wrigglers)


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)
12-Feb-2010 (import)