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Free Content Biological Results of the University of Miami Deep-Sea Expeditions. 88.

The Eel Genus Neoconger Girard: Systematics, Osteology, and Life History

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The eel genus Neoconger Girard and its constituent species, N. mucronatus Girard from the western Atlantic and N. vermiformis Gilbert from the eastern Pacific, are redescribed. Chrinorhinus torrei Howell Rivero is synonymized with Neoconger mucronatus. Leptoconger perlongus (Poey), originally described as a species of Neoconger, is shown to be a synonym of Myrophis punctatus, an ophichthid. The osteology of Neoconger is compared with that of representatives of three related families: Anguilla rostrata (Anguillidae), Moringua edwardsi (Moringuidae) and an undescribed species of pythonichthys from the Gulf of Panama (Heterenchelyidae). Neoconger is shown to be closest to Moringua and becomes the second genus of the family Moringuidae. The larva of Neoconger closely resembles that of Moringua, and has been described previously as Leptocephalus anaelisae Tommasi and L. tuberculatus Castle. Distribution and growth of the larvae of the two species is discussed; N. mucronatus probably spawns off the northeast coast of Brazil during the northern fall and winter, and the larvae drift northward into the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Duration of larval life is at least 4 months. Collections of larvae of N. vermiformis are too limited to permit full description of the spawning and growth processes. Two larvae from Australia, described as Leptocephalus tuberculatus Castle, are the only evidence that Neoconger occurs outside the Western Hemisphere. These specimens do not agree with either of the two known species, and probably represent a third species.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1972-03-01

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