The tropical eastern Pacific halfbeak previously considered conspecific with the western Atlantic Hyporhamphus unifasciatus (Ranzani 1842) is described as a new species, H. naos. It resembles H. meeki from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States in number of gill rakers on the first arch (usually 32-36, mean 33.6), more than in H. unifasciatus (usually 29-32, mean 30.6), but fewer than in other sympatric species of eastern Pacific Hyporhamphus. Results of a three-treatment ANCOVA (H. naos, H. meeki, and H. unifasciatus) show significant differences in slopes and means for all 14 morphometric characters examined, 9 of 14 characters comparing H. naos with H. unifasciatus, and 7 of 14 comparing H. naos with H. meeki. Protein electrophoretic patterns clearly distinguish all three species with a number of fixed allelic differences.
Keywords: morphometrics, meristics, Isthmus of Panamá, species description, protein electrophoresis