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A history of the genus Petalophthalmus W.-Sühm is given and some synonymies are discussed. An amended diagnosis of the genus is given and a full description, with figures, of a new species, P. caribbeanus together with some new figures of P. oculatus Illig drawn by Dr Pillai from material of this species collected to the south of the Gulf of Aden. The distinguishing characters of the two species are given.