Two new species of Stellifer from the eastern Pacific coast are described. Stellifer walkeri n. sp. and S. wintersteenorum n. sp. are both found in coastal waters off southern Mexico. They are distinguished from other species of Stellifer by having two sharp spines at the lower margin of the preopercle and four sensory pores at the tip of the lower jaw. Stellifer wintersteenorum can be distinguished from S. walkeri by having jet black pigment on the roof of the mouth and pharyngeal cavity. Stellifer wintersteenorum can be further distinguished from S. furthii (Steindachner), which also has a black mouth lining, by having a pair of short diverticula on the anterior chamber of the gas bladder compared with those of S. furthii, which are extended posteriorly as long, narrow tubes. Stellifer walkeri is further distinguished from S. pizarroensis Hildebrand by having fewer gill rakers (36-38 vs. 51-55) and soft anal-fin rays (9 vs. 10-11), and from S. zestocarus Gilbert by having two, instead of one preopercular spines, more gill rakers (36-38 vs. 29-32) and a smaller eye (4.5-4.8 vs. 3.6-4.2 in head length). Stellifer ephelis Chirichigno, which was incompletely described when named, is redescribed based on materials from throughout the species’ range. A key to the eastern Pacific species of Stellifer is also included.
Keywords: New species, description, taxonomy, Stellifer