Larvae of Trichopsetta Ventralis (Pisces: Bothidae), with Comments on Intergeneric Relationships within the Bothidae
Abstract:Twenty-seven larvae (6.0–28.5 mm SL) of the bothid flatfish Trichopsetta ventralis were discovered in plankton samples from the Gulf of Mexico and Florida's east coast. Identity of these hitherto undescribed larvae is based upon meristics and observed continuity of pigment pattern between larva and adult.
Larvae are thin, greatly compressed, and distinguished by otic, urohyal, cleithral, and basipterygial spination. At about 17 mm SL, pigmentation develops on the left side as three series of spots along dorsal and ventral body margins and along the mid-body axis. Placement of spots is constant. Size at transformation is unknown; largest larva shows no cranial asymmetry.
Adult Trichopsetta ventralis occur in the Gulf of Mexico in depths of 33–183 m. Distribution of larvae appears to contrast sharply with adult distribution, suggesting a longterm planktonic existence. Patterns of surface circulation, primarily the Loop Current, probably affect distribution of larvae. Larvae of T. ventralis are possibly “bioindicators” of Gulf of Mexico surface circulation systems.
A literature review suggests that larval bothids may be assigned to subfamilies Bothinae or Paralichthynae, based upon relative body thickness, location of cephalic spination, pelvic fin osteology, dorsal fin morphology, and size at transformation. An analysis of larval and adult characters of Taeniopsetta, Engyophrys, Trichopsetta, and Monolene indicates bothine affiliation.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 1977
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