Larval Development and Relationships of the Perciform Family Dichistiidae (=Coracinidae), the Galjoen Fishes
Abstract:Dichistiid fishes, a group endemic to southern African oceans, were historically linked to the microcanthids, scorpidids, girellids and kyphosids (MSG+K families), but a relationship to ephippidids and drepaneids was postulated recently. Development is described based on laboratory-reared larvae of Dichistius (=Coracinus) capensis and field-captured late larvae of this species and D. multifasciatus. Larvae are characterized by rounded, compact gut, gap between anus and anal fin, moderate head spination, and pigment pattern consisting of well-developed pigment series on head, trunk and tail. These elements constitute the "distinctive larval form" of the MSG+K families identified by G. D. Johnson. Furthermore, Dichistius multifasciatus has Freihofer's pattern 10 of the ramus lateralis accessorius nerve (RLA). This is limited to a small group of percoid families including the MSG+K families, but excluding Ephippididae and Drepaneidae. Although we could not confirm the monophyly of the Dichistiidae, we hypothesize the family is related to the MSG+K and other RLA pattern 10 fish families. A grouping of MSG+K families, Dichistiidae and Arripididae is congruent with larval characters. However, none of the elements of the "distinctive larval form" are limited to taxa with RLA pattern 10, and because no sister group to these taxa has been hypothesized, this congruence cannot be fully evaluated. Neither larval morphology and pigment, nor any other character examined offers support for a relationship between dichistiids and ephippidids or drepaneids.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1997-01-01
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