Smithiana Special Publications

The publication series (Monographs, Bulletins & Special Publications) of  SAIAB (formerly the JLB Smith Insitute of Ichthyology), honours James Leonard Brierley Smith and Margaret Mary Smith with the name Smithiana, in recognition of their many years of devoted service to African aquatic biology. 

Their life’s work, a team effort, established modern ichthyology in southern Africa and laid the groundwork for the expansion of aquatic biology throughout the region.

Smithiana Special Publications were originally published for relatively short research papers in place of JLB Smith Institute Special Publications. When the Smithiana Bulletin was changed into a multi-paper journal, the Special Publication series was suspended.  

The resurrected ‘Special Publications’ series has run to three issues to date, and its purpose is to make available reports, surveys and similar work that fall outside the ambit of a research paper, but which contain valuable information that should be made accessible.

Print copies are available gratis, with post & packing charges, from the Margaret Smith Library

I. Roger Bills & Olaf L.F. Weyl.  A New Species of the Genus Chetia (Teleostei: Cichlidae) from the Lecitu River, Buzi System, Mozambique. Smithiana Special Publication,  No. 1, 2002, pp. 1-13.


A new cichlid species, assigned to the genus Chetia, is described from the Lecitu River (Buzi system) in Manica Province, Mozambique. The diagnostic features for this species are: deep body (37.4-41.6% SL); large head (39.4-41.0% SL); long pectoral fin (25.0-28.4% SL); low number of lateral line scales (31-32); reduced number of caudal vertebrae (14); a short and deep caudal peduncle (length/ depth ratio 1.0). The new species is compared to other members of the genus and some other serranochromines. The value of certain diagnostic features and the distribution of the genus Chetia are discussed. Additions are made to the Buzi River system ichthyofaunal checklist.

Dannie A. Hensley and John E. Randall A new flatfish of the Indo-Pacific genus Asterorhombus (Pleuronectiformes: Bothidae) Smithiana Special Publication,  No. 2, 2003, pp. 1-10.

Five species of Asterorhombus are currently recognized, A. bleekeriA. osculusA. annulatusA. intermedius, and A. fijiensis. A new species, Asterorhombus filifer, is described from 19 specimens. It is easily separated from A. bleekeriA. osculus, and A. annulatus by its palmate gill-rakers and its detached and longer first dorsal-fin ray. It is distinguished from A. fijiensis by less body depth, longer first dorsal-fin ray on the average, simpler membrane on this ray, narrower interorbital width, and both eyes usually with one tentacle (vs. 1-9 tentacles on upper eye only). Asterorhombus fijiensis and A. filifer are the only species of the genus with males having a wider interorbital than females. Asterorhombus filifer most closely resembles A. intermedius, which differs in having a longer first dorsal ray, smooth edge on the membrane of this ray, usually more lateral-line scales, and males with greater interorbital width. Asterorhombus filifer is the most wide-ranging species of the genus, extending from the western Indian Ocean to the Hawaiian and Society islands, and is the only species of Asterorhombus occurring on the Pacific Plate.

Rik Nulens, Lucy Scott and Marc Herbin. 2011. An updated inventory of all known specimens of the coelacanth, Latimeria spp. Smithiana Special Publication No. 3, 2011, pp. 1-52.


A list is presented of all known specimens of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae Smith 1939 and L. menadoensis Pauyaud et al. 1999. It is based on a previous inventory, published by the Coelacanth Conservation Council (CCC) in Environmental Biology of Fishes (EBF) 32: 371–390 (1991),  extended with new catches and a new survey of the literature and extensive correspondence with museums, aquariums, universities and other institutional holdings worldwide. There has also been a complete check and update of the Millot et al. inventory (1978) housed at the National Museum for Natural History (MNHN) in Paris. At least 299 coelacanths are known to have been caught since the first coelacanth was found off South Africa in 1938. Subsequent specimens were caught in the Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, Indonesia and Tanzania. As of 8 September 2003, the capture list is dominated by coelacanth captures in Tanzania whereas the number of catches in the Comoros stabilised or decreased over the last 10 years. We express our hope that the implementation of the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park, gazetted on 28 August 2009, will play a role in reducing catches in Tanzania during the years to come.