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Free Content Larval Development in the Lutjanid Subfamily Paradicichthyinae (Pisces): the Genera Symphorus and Symphorichthys

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Larval development in the two species of the lutjanid subfamily Paradicichthyinae is described and illustrated from field specimens captured with plankton nets, midwater trawls and light traps in the eastern Indian Ocean and western Coral Sea. Series were assembled using fin-spine morphology, fin-ray counts, head spination and pigment patterns. Identifications were established from adult meristic characters, especially fin-ray counts. Larvae of the Paradicichthyinae have the spine on the postcleithrum, the very elongate spines of dorsal and pelvic fins, and the even longer pelvic-fin soft rays that characterize lutjanid larvae. They are further characterized by fin-ray counts; lack of external ornamentation on fin spines (except weak, late-forming anterior ridges on spines of the pelvic fin); only one spine on the interopercle; no spines on the subopercle; sequence of spine formation on the upper limb of the outer border of the preopercle; dorsal-fin spines that form early but remain relatively short until just before flexion; late-forming scales; late-forming pigment on the midbrain; and pigment pattern on the spinous dorsal fin. Symphorus nematophorus larvae are described from 18 specimens, 3.5–17.7 mm, and are characterized by: a supraorbital ridge without serrations; a large spine at the angle of the preopercle; fin-ray counts; and pigment, especially a ventral series of melanophores on the tail and a settlement-stage pattern of three broad, dark, horizontal bands. Symphorichthys spilurus larvae are described from five specimens, 8.1–16.2 mm, and are characterized by: a supraorbital ridge with three serrations; a spine of moderate length at the angle of the preopercle; fin-ray counts; and pigment, especially lack of ventral pigment on the tail and a settlement-stage pattern of one broad, dark, horizontal band and a large blotch at the base of each of the dorsal and anal fins. Both species apparently leave the pelagic environment at less than 18 mm and undergo substantial morphological and pigment change between settlement and maturity. Larval evidence corroborates the placement of both species in the Lutjanidae, and suggests that the two species are closely related.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1995

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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