The family Serranidae is represented by 92 genera and 579 valid species, with the genus Serranus Cuvier, 1816, containing 30 species. In this study, specimens of Butterfly-winged Comber, Serranus papilionaceus Valenciennes, 1832, were collected from the Canary Islands and compared morphologically and genetically to Painted Comber, Serranus scriba (Linnaeus, 1758), from the Mediterranean Sea. Morphological differences, especially in the colour banding pattern, were corroborated by genetic differences in mitochondrial (COI and ND2) and nuclear (Rhod and PTR) markers. The mitochondrial DNA markers revealed a high level of divergence and no shared haplotypes between the two species (interspecific divergence: COI 4.31%; ND2 8.68%), and a phylogenetic analysis showed that these two species are closely related sister species sharing common ancestry. This study is therefore offering to resurrect S. papilionaceus Valenciennes, 1832 as a valid species increasing the number of eastern Atlantic Serranus species to 11. This should direct new species-specific research, including its population conservation status assessment across its distribution.