Thais keluo sp. nov. is described from intertidal shores of southwest Taiwan. The new species is differentiated from five other closely related species, namely T. bitubercularis (Lamarck), T. jubilaea Tan and Sigurdsson, T. clavigera (Küster), T. luteostoma (Holten) and T. rufotincta Tan and Sigurdsson, all of which occur in the South China Sea, on the basis of shell, radula and penis morphology. Thais keluo is also distinguished from the latter three species based on allozyme electrophoresis. The shell of T. keluo is characterized by four raised, spiral bands on the last whorl, one or two small, oblique columellar plica(e) on the inner lip, a finely crenate, thin, narrow, reddish-brown outer lip edge and four white, papillate denticles inside the outer lip of the aperture. In males, the penis is curved with a long, simple flagellum. The UPGMA cluster analysis based on 9 enzyme loci revealed that T. luteostoma is more closely related to T. clavigera than to T. keluo n.sp. The Nei's genetic distance (D) obtained between the new species and T. clavigera/T. luteostoma was 0.31, while T. clavigera and T. luteostoma were separated by a distance of 0.16. Thais rufotincta was separated from the other species by a distance of 0.78. In contrast, phylogenetic analysis of morphological data by maximum parsimony suggested that T. luteostoma was more closely related to T. keluo than to T. clavigera. However, both analyses indicated the close relationship amongst T. clavigera, T. luteostoma and the new species in relation to T. rufotincta.
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