It’s confirmed: El Nido is home to a new species of wrasse!
World-renowned marine ichthyologists (scientists who study fish) Dr. John Randall and Dr. Gerald Allen confirmed that the colorful wrasse found by Dr. Allen and Dr. Mark Erdmann in Dibuluan last 2008 was indeed a new species. Halichoeres hilomeni was “found in 1-3 m [depth] in a sheltered habitat of mixed coral, algae, sand, and gravel”. The experts also found and photographed the fish in Coron Island in the Calamian Group of Islands (northern Palawan) and in Borneo near Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Its closest relative appears to be H. solorensis (Bleeker), which is known from Indonesia and the Philippines. H. hilomeni is named after Dr. Vincent V. Hilomen of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.
And guess who was mentioned in the acknowledgements?
We are especially grateful to Leigh Talmage-Perez of the Asian Conservation Company and El Nido Resorts for their excellent logistic support during the second author’s visits to the El Nido region during 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Dr. Allen and Dr. Erdmann, it was our pleasure to host you. Dr. Erdmann, Kring promises to stop distracting Dr. Allen during the future fieldworks.
Randall JE and Allen GR. 2010. Two New Labrid Fishes of the Genus Halichoeres from the East Indies. The Raffles Bulletin Of Zoology 58 (2): 281–289
Full scientific paper can be downloaded here.