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Free Content Larval Morphology of the Eels Bascanichthys Bascanium, B. Scuticaris, Ophichthus Melanoporus and O. Ophis (Ophichthidae), with a Discussion of Larval Identification Methods

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Larvae of Bascanichthys bascanium, B. scuticaris, Ophichthus melanoporus and O. ophis are described. The larvae of B. bascanium and B. scuticaris had been described in the literature as O. melanoporus and O. ophis. Developmental osteology of Bascanichthys (based mainly on B. bascanium) and of O. melanoporus are presented. The osteology of one metamorphic O. ophis is described. Osteological development of Bascanichthys and Ophichthus larvae differs from that of Myrophis punctatus larvae in the more pronounced division between symplectic and hyomandibula, in the more rapid development of their branchial arches, in the sequence of ossification of the suspensoria and in development of their caudal and axial skeletons.

The look-alike method of identifying ophichthid leptocephali is rejected. The larval genus Ophichthus determined using this method contained species of Ophichthus, Bascanichthys and Apterichtus.

Tribes and genera of ophichthid larvae are determined using the structure of gill arches, opercular apparatus and cephalic lateralis system, median fin position and number of branchiostegal rays. Species are then determined using total and nephric myomere counts.

Larval evidence indicates that Verma is a synonym of Apterichtus.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1981-01-01

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