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Scientists find new goby fish species in the Philippines, 2 others in Japan

Scientists from the Philippines and Japan have discovered a new species of goby fish in the province of Palawan in the Philippines and two new species in Okinawa, Japan.

The new species found in Palawan has been named Lentipes palawanirufus which when translated means "red Lentipes goby of Palawan."

The species found in Okinawa have been named Lentipes kijimuna and Lentipes bunagaya, inspired by the red-colored wood spirits, Kijimuna and Bunagaya, from Okinawan folk mythology.

The description of the new species were detailed in a report published in the journal, Systematics and Biodiversity and posted on the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University website.

The report was shared by the Philippine Biodiversity and Conservation Foundation Inc. (PBCFI) social media page.

"The names were inspired by Kijimuna and Bunagaya, who are wood spirits in Okinawan folk mythology usually portrayed as having red hair or skin," said Dr. Ken Maeda, first author of the study and staff scientist in the Marine Eco-Evo-Devo Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST).

"Like their namesakes, these two new species have red markings on their body," he added.

Lentipes kijimuna was the first species discovered back in 2005. In 2010, Maeda found three more male fish in Okinawa with the same unique red coloration and collected one of them for later study. And then in 2012, he discovered a second color morph, also male.

It was during surveys of freshwater fish in Palawan between 2015 and 2018 in a collaboration project between OIST and the Western Philippines University that Maeda found males that displayed a third variation in color, with a bright red head and a reddish-brown lower body. -- BAP, GMA News