A larva and a pelagic juvenile of Bembrops curvatura are identified and described from Japanese waters. These pelagic larvae are remarkable in developing a transparent enlarged dermal space over the head, i.e., so-called "bubblemorph," which disappears by 15.8mm SL through metamorphosis.
Pigmentation is scant, but a peritoneal pigment section over the gut is distinct. Occurrence of a similar larva of Bembrops in Australian waters probably referable to another species is also recorded, although its specific identification cannot be made. In contrast, the Atlantic congener,
B. anatirostris, is known to lack bubblemorph stage (Richards, 1990), revealing at least two types of pelagic larvae in the genus. Possible significances of this peculiar larval morph are discussed. Known larvae of the Percophidae including Bembrops, Chrionema, Spinapsaron, Hemerocoetes,
and Matsubaraea are compared and based on larval morphology the monophyly of the family is questioned.
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