J.L. Johansen, S. He, G. Frank, M.K. Pappas, M.L. Berumen, A.S. Hoey
Coral Reefs, volume 36, issue 3, pp. 717-717, (2017)
Hybridization among closely related species is relatively common in marine fishes that spawn mid-water. Although at least 81 species of tropical coral-reef fish have been reported to hybridize in nature (primarily Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae and Labridae), hybridization is thought to be exceedingly rare among benthic-nesting species that engage in pair spawning, such as the Pomacentridae (Montanari et al. 2016). The Pomacentridae include >385 species, most of which form breeding pairs and nest on the benthos. Yet only four Pomacentridae hybrids have been confirmed based on strong molecular evidence (e.g., Yaakub et al. 2006), and only from areas where one or both species are rare, such as degraded habitats and/or geographic zones of overlap. Here we present both morphological and genetic evidence for the first record of hybridization between Dascyllus aruanus and D. reticulatus (Fig. 1). These are small (4–9 cm total length, TL) benthic-nesting fishes that often cohabit small branching coral heads. They display distinct pairing during breeding, vigorously guarding their eggs until hatching.