Two Stunning New Species of Pencil Wrasses: Pseudojuloides polynesica & P. splendens Featured, New Species, wrasses Reef Builders

Two Stunning New Species of Pencil Wrasses: Pseudojuloides polynesica & P. splendens Featured, New Species, wrasses Reef Builders


The pencil wrasse genus Pseudojuloides just increased by two more new species, the splendid pencil wrasse, Pseudojuloides splendens and the Polynesian Pencil Wrasse, Pseudojuloides polynesica. Both of these two new pencil wrasses are similar in appearance to the colorful smalltail pencil wrasse P. cerasinus but differ both in appearance and in their distribution. 

Pseudojuloides splendens, the splendid pencil wrasse

The splendid pencil wrasse is found in the western pacific ocean from Japan to Australia and is the most similar to its Hawaiian counterpart. The body of males is an overall green color with a black edged tail in both P. splendens and P. cerasinus but the males of the common green pencil wrasse have just one blue facial stripe while P. splendens has two. Furthermore the splendid pencil wrasse has a pronounced orange dorsal stripe running from the snout all the way across the dorsal fin to the base of the tail. 

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Pseudojuloides polynesica, the polynesian pencil wrasse

Meanwhile the polynesian pencil wrasse, Pseudojuloides polynesica is found in the South Pacific Ocean from Rangiroa and Tahiti in French Polynesia. This species has a distinctly yellow appearance in males, with a single blue facial stripe like P. cerasinus but no black in the tail. 

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Close up of a male polynesian pencil wrasse showing the markedly yellow overall appearance

Pseudojuloides polynesica and P. splendens join a growing list of new species of beautiful pencil wrasses that have been described in recent years including P. zeus & P labyrinthus. The polynesian pencil wrasse and splendid pencil wrasse were described by Benjamin Victor in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.

Benjamin Victor
The male appearance of the three similar species of pencil wrasses, from top to bottom: Pseudojuoides cerasinus (B. Pardeau), P. splendens (B. Victor) & P. polynesica (JT Williams)

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