Tiny new shrimp goby species found in Papua New Guinea

A new species of shrimp goby just an inch long has been discovered and described from Papua New Guinea. Named Vanderhorstia vandersteene, it’s named in honor of two underwater photographers, Rob Vanderloos and Roger Steene, and the species was described by Gerald Allen, Mark Erdmann, and William Brooks. 

The goby comes from the East Cape region of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea, and was described on the basis of five specimens ranging in size from 17-32mm (⅔”-1 ¼”) in length. It lives in a mutually symbiotic relationship with Alpheus pistol shrimp and is one of 30 Vanderhorstia species, with 20 of those being described in the last 15 years.

Most Vanderhorstia shrimp gobies live in shallow waters but V.vandersteene was found in depths of 35-60 meters (114-196 feet) on a steep outer reef slope, over black volcanic sand. There, 20 individuals were observed over 700 square yards, all living as solitary individuals, and each with an unidentified Pistol Shrimp. 

There are no obvious sexual differences in color or fin length and the sexes were identified by a difference in the shape of the genital papilla. 

Whether the fish will ever come into the hobby is unclear. It lives deep down and is half the size of Yasha and Dracula gobies, both of which are small fish. There are over 2200 species of gobies with three being described in the last week. Vanderhorstia vandersteene joins Eviota marteynae, and Callogobius swifti, the latter species also being described by Allen, Erdmann, and Brooks, with Mark Erdmann being involved in the descriptions of all three.

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For more info and the original description go to Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation

Thank you to Mark Erdmann for giving permission to use the photographs.    

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