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Chelidoperca maculicauda, a new species of perchlet (Teleostei: Serranidae) from the Arabian Sea.


A new species of serranid fish, Chelidoperca maculicauda n. sp. is described based on three specimens, (123-129 mm SL), recently collected from the Arabian Sea, off Quilon, Kerala, India. The combination of caudal fin shape and a unique color pattern of five red bars on a pinkish body and pale yellow fins with a bright red margin on the anal fin, a small grey spot distally on the dorsal half and bluish white spots on ventral half of the caudal fin, distinguishes the new species from other congeners. Other distinguishing characters include: fourth dorsal spine longest 2.8 (3) in head length; body depth 23.3 (22.8-24.5) % SL (standard length), 4.3 (4.1-4.4) in SL; head length 40.3 (42.3-42.6) % SL; orbital length 9.3 (8.9-9.1) in SL; 2.5-3 scales above lateral line to dorsal origin; serrae on margin of preopercle 40-46. Lateral-line scales 42; dorsal fin continuous, with ninth dorsal spine shorter than tenth spine; longest dorsal soft ray (7th or 8th) 2.4 (2.3-2.4) in head length.


Beschrieben wird eine neue Art der Sagebarsche: Chelidoperca maculicauda n. sp. out der Grundlage von drei Exemplaren (123--129 mm SL), die kurzlich im Arabischen Meer vor Quilon, Kerala, Indien, gefangen wurden. Diese neue Art lasst sich von anderen Angehorigen der Gattung durch die Kombination folgender Merkmale unterscheiden: Schwanzflossenform, einpragsames Farbmuster mit funf roten Streifen auf leicht rosafarbenem Rumpf, blassgelbe Flossen mit hellrotem Rand an der Afterflosse, ein kleiner grauer Fleck distal auf der dorsalen Halfte und blaulich wei[beta]e Flecken auf der ventralen Halfte der Schwanzflosse. Zu weiteren Unterscheidungsmerkmalen gehoren: vierter Ruckenflossenstrahl am langsten (2,8-(3-)fache Kopflange); Korpertiefe 23,3 (22,8-24,5) % der Standardlange SL, 4,3 (4,1-4,4) Anteil an SL; Kopflange 40,3 (42,3-42,6) % von SL; Augenhohlenlange 9,3 (8,9-9,1) Anteil an SL; 2,5 bis 3 Schuppen oberhalb der Seitenlinie bis zum Ansatz der Ruckenflosse; 40 - 46 Sagezahnchen am Rand des Praoperculums. Aug[beta]rdem 42 Seitenlinienschuppen; durchgehende Ruckenflosse, wobei der neunte Flossenstrahl kurzer ist als der zehnte; langster Ruckenweichflossenstrahl (der 7. oder 8.) 2,4-(2,3 bis 2,4-)fache Kopflange.


Une nouvelle espece de Serranide, Chelidoperca maculicaudan. sp. est decrite sur base de trois specimens (123-129 mm de LS), collect recemment dans la mer d'Arabie, au large de Quilon, de Kerala, Inde. La nouvelle espece se distingue d'autres congeneres par la combinaison de la forme de la caudale et d'un patron de coloration unique de cinq barres rouges sur un corps rosatre et de nageoires jaune pale avec un large lisere rouge sur l'anale, une petite cache grise distalement sur la moitie de la dorsale et de taches d'un blanc bleuatre sur la moitie ventrale de la caudale. Autres traits distinctifs: la quatrieme epine dorsale est la plus longue, 2,8 (3) de la longueur de la tete; hauteur du corps 23,3 (22,8-24,5) % de la LS, 4,3 (4,1-4,4) de LS, longueur de la tete 40,3 (42,3-42,6) % de la IS; longueur orbitale 9,3 (8,9-9,1) en LS; 2,5 -3 ecailles au-dessus de la ligne laterale jusqu'a la base de la dorsale; des serrae sur le bord du preopercule 40-46. Ecailles de la ligne laterale 42; une nageoire dorsale continue, avec la neuvieme epine dorsale plus courte que la dixieme; le plus long rayon mou dorsal (le [7.sup.e] ou le [8.sup.e]) 2,4 (2,3-2,4) de la longueur de la tete.


Una nuova specie di pesci serranidi, Chelidoperca maculicauda n. sp., e descritta sulla base di tre esemplari (123-129 mm SL), recentemente raccolti dal Mare Arabico, al largo di Quilon, Kerala, India. La combinazione di caratteri, quail la forma della pinna caudale e una livrea originale di cinque barre rosse su un corpo rosa pallido e pinne gialle con un margine rosso brillante sulla pinna anale, una macchia grigia piccola distalmente nella meta dorsale e bluastre macchie blanche sulla meta ventrale della pinna caudale, distingue la nuova specie da altri congeneri. Altri caratteri distintivi sono: spina dorsale piu lunga la quarta (2.8 (3) volte nella lunghezza della testa), profondita del corpo 23.3 (22.8-24.5)% SL (lunghezza standard), 4.3 (4.1-4.4), in SL, lunghezza della testa 40.3 (42.3-42.6)% SL; lunghezza dell'orbitale 9.3 (8.99.1) in SL; 2.5-3 scaglie sopra la linea laterale all' origine della dorsale; margine del preopercolo con 40-46 dentelli. Scaglie in linea laterale 42; pinna dorsale continua, con nona spina dorsale piu corta della decima; raggio piu lungo della dorsale molle (70[degrees] o 8[degrees]) 2.4 (2.3-2.4) nella lunghezza della testa.


The family Serranidae (Perciformes) is one of the largest perciform families with 5 subfamilies, 64 genera and 529 valid species (Eschmeyer & Fong, 2012). The serranid fish genus Chelidoperca, Boulenger (1895) includes 6 species: Chelidoperca hirundinacea (Valenciennes 1831), C. investigatoris (Alcock 1890), C. lecromi Fourmanoir 1982, C. margaritifera Weber 1913, C. occipitalis Kotthaus, 1973 and C. pleurospilus (Gunther 1880) (Eschmeyer & Fong, 2012).

Chelidoperca are usually found on the continental shelf and slope muddy bottoms in the Indo-Pacific (Nelson, 2006; Eschmeyer & Fong, 2012). Two species of Chelidoperca, namely C. investigatoris and C. occipitalis are known from the Arabian Sea (Kotthaus 1973; Manilo & Bogorodsky, 2003; Jayaprakash et al., 2006; Bineesh et al., 2012). Recently C. occipitalis was discovered in the southeastern Arabian Sea (unpubl. data). Chelidoperca maculicauda n. sp. represents the third known species in the genus Chelidoperca from the Arabian Sea.


Specimens of Chelidoperca were collected from the bycatch of a commercial deep-sea shrimp trawler operated in the continental shelf of Arabian Sea, off Kollam (Quilon) (Fig. 1) at depths 180-320 m, and landed at Sakthikulangara Fisheries Harbour, Kerala, during April 2012. Measurements of formalin (5%) preserved specimens were taken following Hubbs and Lagler (1964). The morphometric characters of the specimens were measured with a digital vernier caliper with an accuracy of 0.1 mm and expressed as percentage of standard length (SL) or head length (HL). Gill raker counts were taken from the first gill arch of the right side. Vertebral and caudal-fin ray counts were taken from radiographs of the type specimens. In the description, values in parentheses refer to data for the paratypes when different from the holotype. Specimens examined are deposited in the collections of: Marine Biodiversity Museum at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, India (CMFRI); Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, India (ZSI); The Zoological Museum, Hamburg, Germany (ZMH); and National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Cochin Unit, Cochin, India (NBFGR CHN).

Genetic methodology: Samples of muscle tissue were collected from types and preserved in 99.5 % ethanol at ambient temperature for genetic analysis. Genomic DNA was extracted using the QiagenDNeasy Blood and Tissue kit following the manufacture's protocol and stored in AE buffer. The partial sequence of COI gene was amplified using primer Fish Fl (5'--TCA ACC AAC CAC AAA GAC ATT GGC AC--3') and Fish R1 (5'--TAG ACT TCT GGG TGG CCA AAG AAT CA--3') (Ward et al., 2005) in 25 [micro]l reactions containing lx assay buffer (100 mMTris, 500 mMKC1, 0.1% gelatin, pH 9.0) with 1.5 mM [MgC.sub.12] (Genei, Bangalore, India), 5 pmoles of each primer, 200 mM of each dNTP (Genei, Bangalore, India), 1.5 U Taq DNA polymerase and 20 ng of template DNA. The thermal conditions consisted of initial preheating at 95[degrees]C for 3 min, denaturation at 94[degrees]C for 30 s, annealing at 50[degrees]C for 30 s, extension at 72[degrees]C for 35 s, repeated for 29 cycles, followed by a final extension for 3 min at 72[degrees]C. PCR products were visualized on 1.2% agarose gels. Sequencing reactions used a BigDye terminator v3.1 cycle sequencing kit (applied Biosystems, Inc). All samples were sequenced bidirectionally using an ABI3730capillary sequencer following the manufacture's protocol. Sequence divergences were calculated using Kimura 2 parameter (K2P) distance, clustered by neighbour joining and bootstrapped using MEGA3 (Kumar et al., 2004) with 1000 replications. Mitochondrial COI barcode sequences were deposited in the NCBI GenBank.

Other material examined in this study:

Chelidoperca investigatoris: Syntype, ZSI 12820, 107.5 mm SL, syntype, ZSI 12821, 103.4 mm SL, Off the Ganjam coast, Odisha, India, 180-187 m depth, R.I.M.S. Investigator. NBFGR CHN 30123024, 13 specimens, 127.51-177.9 mm TL, off Kollam, Kerala coast, India, southeastern Arabian Sea (09[degrees]05' N, 75[degrees]52'E), 180-280 m depth, collected by K. K. Bineesh and K. V. Akhilesh, 08 February 2009. NCBI GenBank Accession No. JX185305, JX185307, JX185312, JX185310.

Chelidoperca occipitalis: Holotype, ZMH 5136, 114 mm SL, Off Sokotra Islands, Arabian Sea, 190-290 m depth. CMFRI GB,3 specimens, 135-153mm TL, NBFGR CHN 30013011, 11 specimens, 135-163 mm TL, off Kollam, India, Kerala coast, southeastern Arabian Sea (09[degrees]20' N, 75[degrees]51' E), 180-320 m depth, collected by K.K. Bineesh and K.V. Akhilesh, 22 April 2009. NCBI GenBank Accession No. JX185311, JX185313, JX185306, JX185304.

Chelidoperca maculicauda n. sp.

Bineesh and Akhilesh (Figs 2-5; Table I)

Table I. Proportional measurements of the holotype (CMFRI GB 31.
139. 14. 5) and two paratypes of Chelidoperca maculicauda n.
sp. as percentage of standard length.

Measurements              Holotype        Paratype       Paratype
                    GB 31. 139.14.  GB 31. 139.14.  GB31. 139.14.
                                 5            5. 1           5. 2

Total length (mm)            156.6           160.7          153.4

Standard length              127.2           128.9          122.9

Body depth                    23.3            24.3           22.8

Body width                    18.5            18.8           18.8

Head length                   40.3            42.6           42.3

Post orbital                  23.7            24.7           24.0

Snout length                   8.6             8.7            8.8

Eye diameter                  10.8            11.0           11.3

Upper jaw length              17.8            18.0           18.3

Interorbital                   4.6             4.8            4.7

Predorsal length              37.5            38.8           38.6

Prepectoral                   37.9            39.9           38.6

Prepelvic length              35.2            35.2           35.9

Preanal length                61.6            64.2           63.6

Pectoral fin                  24.5            24.7           25.5

Pelvic fin length             24.9            21.7           23.0

Caudal fin length             23.9            22.5           24.8

Caudal peduncle               10.7            10.3           10.8

Anal fin length               35.3            33.9           36.9

Anal fin base                 17.3            16.2           17.8

Dorsal fin length             60.1            60.9           62.3

Dorsal fin base               46.5            47.6           47.9

Caudal peduncle               17.9            20.9           20.3

First dorsal spine             4.4             4.0            3.8

Second dorsal                  8.4             7.9            7.9
spine length

Third dorsal spine            13.1            12.7           12.9

Fourth dorsal fin             14.6            14.3           14.2
spine length

Ninth dorsal fin               7.9             8.2            7.4

Tenth dorsal fin              10.3             9.1           10.4
spine length

Eighth dorsal fin              8.1             7.5            8.4
spine length

First anal spine               4.6             5.2            4.3

Second anal spine              6.7             7.7            6.4

Third anal spine               9.3            12.6            8.8

First anal ray                13.3            12.0           12.1

Longest anal ray              18.8            20.0           22.0

Holotype: CMFRI GB 31.139.14. 5, 127 mm SL, off Kollam, Kerala coast, India, southeastern Arabian Sea, 180-320 m depth, collected by K.K. Bineesh and K. V. Akhilesh, 25 April 2012. NCBI GenBank Accession No. JX185308.

Paratypes: CMFRI GB 31.139.14. 5. 1, 128.9 mm SL, off Kollam, Kerala coast, India, southeastern Arabian Sea, 180-320 m depth, collected by K.K. Bineesh and K.V. Akhilesh, 25 April 2012. NCBI GenBank Accession No. JX185309. CMFRI GB 31.139.14. 5. 2, 122.9 mm SL, off Kollam, Kerala coast, India, southeastern Arabian Sea, 180-320 m depth, collected by K. K. Bineesh and K. V. Akhilesh, 25 April 2012. NCBI GenBank Accession No. PC262929.

Diagnosis: A species of Chelidoperca with the following combination of characters: Dorsal fin rays X, 10; anal fin rays III, 6; pectoral-fin rays 15; lateral-line scales 42; gill rakers 3 + 9; caudal rays 17. Fourth dorsal spine longest, 2.8 (3) in HL, body depth 23.3 (22.8-24.5) % SL, 4.3 (4.1-4.4) in SL; head length 40.3 (42.3-42.6) % SL; orbital length 9.3 (8.9- 9.1) in SL; 2.5-3 scales above lateral-line to dorsal origin; serrae on margin of preopercle 4046.; dorsal fin continuous, with ninth dorsal spine shorter than tenth spine; longest dorsal soft ray (seventh) 2.4 (2.3-2.4) in HL; first anal-fin spine 8.7 (8.3-9.7) in HL, second anal-fin spine 3.49 (3.16-3.54) in HL; pelvic fin relatively short, 4 (4.6-4.3) in SL; head and body pinkish in colour, ventral side pale. Six white blotches on body. Numerous small bluish white circular spots on lower caudal fin, upper caudal fin with a small circular grey spot distally.

Description: (When counts vary, those from the holotype are given in parentheses, Table I).

Dorsal rays X, 10; anal rays III, 6; pectoral rays 15; pelvic rays I, 5; anal rays III, 6; caudal fin rays 17; lateral-line scales 42; 3 (4-5 as rudiments) + 9 (2-3 as rudiments) gill rakers on the first arch (total 7-8 + 11-12); vertebrae 23.

Body moderately elongate, cylindrical; body depth at dorsal origin 4.3 (4.1-4.4) in SL, 1.7 (1.8-1.9) in HL; body moderately compressed, width 1.3 (1.2-1.3) in body depth. Head moderately compressed, short, its length 40.3 (42.3-42.6) % SL, 2.5 (2.4) in SL; snout short, pointed, snout length 4.7 (4.8-4.9) in HL; orbit moderately large, greater than interorbital width and snout length, orbital diameter 9.3 (8.9-9.1) in SL, 3.7 (3.7-3.9) in HL; interorbital space flat, scaly, scales reaching to anterior edge of the orbit; interorbital width 8.9 (8.8-9.0) in HL; two opercular spines and three occipital spines covered with scales, above origin of lateral-line (Fig. 4); preopercle finely serrated (40-46). Predorsal length 37.5 (38.6-38.8) % SL. Caudal peduncle depth 10.7 (10.3-10.8) % SL; caudal peduncle length 24.5 (24.7-25.5) % SL.

Mouth terminal, large and oblique, jaws strong; lower jaw projecting in front of upper lip, upper jaw nearly reaching vertical to posterior margin of orbit, widest at end and maxilla truncate posteriorly, with rounded corners; supramaxilla relatively large and terminally positioned; upper jaw length 2.3 (2.3-2.4) in HL. Teeth in villiform bands in the premaxilla and palatines and in a small patch on the vomer, premaxilla with an outer row of moderate conical teeth; outer teeth anteriorly with irregular inner series of smaller conical teeth and a wide inner band of much smaller teeth; small canine teeth in mandible and at premaxillary symphysis. Tongue long, slender, and spatulate anteriorly. Head fully scaled except lips, snout and maxilla; about 5-6 rows of scales from edge of orbit to corner of preopercle; scales ctenoid; lateral line not in a straight line (wavy), 2.5-3 rows of scales below tenth dorsal-fin spine and the lateral line.

Dorsal fin continuous and deeply notched; dorsal fin originating in front of a vertical through opercular margin, and opposite pectoral anterior insertion and pelvic posterior insertion. Dorsal-fin spines relatively slender and straight without flexible tips; dorsal-fin origin above fifth lateral-line scale; first dorsal spine short, slender, 9.2 (10.7-11.1) in HL, 1.9 (2) in second spine; 4th dorsal spine longest, 2.8 (3) in HL; ninth dorsal spine slightly shorter than tenth spine, 1.3 (1.1-1.4) in tenth dorsal spine; dorsal-fin rays branched, additional branches at tips, longest dorsal-fin ray (seventh or eighth) 2.4 (2.3-2.4) in HL.

Pectoral fins long, reaching vertical through anal-fin origin, 24.5 (24.7-25.5) % SL, 1.6 (1.3-1.5) in HL; pelvic fins inserted in front of and beneath pectoral fins, not reaching to anal-fin origin, pelvic-fin length 1.6 (1.8-2) in HL, 24.9 (21.8-23) % SL. Anal-fin origin in a vertical below dorsal ray origin. Third anal-fin spine longer than second, 4.4 (3.4-4.8) in head length; longest anal-fin soft ray (fifth) 2.2 (1.9-2.1) in head length; Preanal fin length 61.7 (64.2-63.6) % SL. Anal-fin rays branched like dorsal-fin rays. Upper lobe of caudal fin longer and rounded.

Coloration: When fresh: Head and body pinkish in colour, belly and throat white. Bright yellow markings on the cheek and opercles. Bright red line on distal border of anal fin. Basal region of anal-fin rays with yellow spots, membrane of last anal ray yellow spotted. Six white blotches on body. Upper part of maxilla yellowish, lower grey. Upper rim of orbit with red spots. a narrow violet stripe below eye across distal part of maxilla. Dorsal fin mostly yellowish, base of dorsal spines with pink spots; caudal fin pinkish red proximally, upper and lower margins yellow, upper margins yellow, scattered small blue white spots centrally on lower lobe; anal fin pale; upper caudal lobe with a small grey spot. Lower lobe yellowish with bluish-white spots. In preservative: similar to above with the most markings and grey spot on caudal fin less apparent (Fig. 3).

Comparisons: Chelidoperca maculicauda can be distinguished from all other species of the genus by its unique colour pattern, consisting of a completely pink body with six white blotches, a grey spot on the upper half of caudal fin, numerous small pale blue dots on the lower caudal fin, shape of the caudal fin, and preopercular serration 40-46. Other characters to distinguish amongst the Indian Ocean species of Chelidoperca are as follows. C. maculicauda is readily distinguished from Chelidoperca pleurospilus (Gunther 1880) in having a high preopercular serration 40-46 (vs. 15-29 in C. pleurospilus), gill rakers 3+9 (vs. 5-6+11-12), body depth 22.8-24.3 (vs. 22.7-23.1 % SL), and post orbital length 23.7-24.7 (vs. 19.3-19.5 % SL) (Akazaki, 1972; Park et al., 2007).

Chelidoperca maculicauda is distinguished from Chelidoperca occipitalis Kotthaus 1973 in having an eye diameter 10.8-11.6 (vs. 9.1-10.6% SL) and absence of a black band on the body (vs. present). Chelidoperca maculicauda differs from Chelidoperca investigatoris in the absence of blackish bands (vs. dark bands on sides), body depth 22.8-24 (vs. 26.2-28 % SL), head length 40.3-42.6 (vs. 42-49 % SL), interorbital 4.6-4.8 (vs. 3.4-4.1 % SL), and preanal length 61.7-64.2 (64.4-70 % SL).

Chelidoperca investigatoris Alcock 1890 described from the collections of RIMS Investigator from the Ganjam coast (Orissa), Bay of Bengal, was the only Chelidoperca species known from Indian waters until C. occipitalis was reported from the southwest coast of India by (Bineesh et al., in press), these three species vary considerably in their COI sequence, indicating there are three distinct species in Indian waters.

Barcode sequence: We attempted to sequence all sympatric forms of Chelidoperca found in the Arabian Sea. A 655 base pair amplicon from the 5' region of the mitochondrial COI gene was bidirectionally sequenced for the holotype and two paratypes (GenBank Accession No. JX185308, JX185309, JX262929 respectively). The holotype and paratype sequences were virtually identical (0.00 % sequence divergence). They possess a unique haplotype that is substantially divergent from all other Chelidoperca species. The tree revealed that Chelidoperca maculicauda is distinct from C. occipitalis and C. investigatoris (Fig. 6).

Distribution: Presently known only from off the southwest coast of India in the Arabian Sea, at depths of 180-320 m.

Etymology: The new species is named maculicauda with cauda from the Latin, meaning tail, and macula from the Latin, meaning spot with reference to the distinctive grey spot on the tail.

Proposed vernacular name: Indian perchlet.


Authors are grateful to G. Syda Rao, Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), Kochi for the support. A. Gopalakrishnan and K. A. Sajeela (National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Cochin Unit are acknowledged for support in Barcoding works. Mishra S. S (ZSI, Kolkata) and Ralf Thiel (ZMH, Germany) are acknowledged for the support. We also wish to thank Barry Russell (Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Australia) for suggestions and helpful comments on the earlier version of manuscript. Thanks to anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.

Received: 28 June 2012--Accepted: 26 March 2013


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K. K. Bineesh (l), K. V. Akhilesh, E. M. Abdussamad and N. G. K. Pillai

Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, P. B. No. 1603, Ernakulam North P.O., Cochin--683 018, Kerala, India.

(1.) Corresponding author: email:
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Author:Bineesh, K.K.; Akhilesh, K.V.; Abdussamad, E.M.; Pillai, N.G.K.
Publication:aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 26, 2013
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