, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 256-262

The occurrence of two species of Macroramphosus (Gasterosteiformes: Macroramphosidae) in Japan: morphological and ecological observations on larvae, juveniles, and adults

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Earlier opinions that Macroramphosus is monotypic are refuted, with two species apparently occurring in Japan (tentatively identified as M. gracilis and M. scolopax). In postsettlement young and adults, the former is characterized by a dark slender body (vs. red-orange and deep) and short second dorsal fin spine with a smooth posterior margin (vs. long spine with a serrated margin). Food habits also differ between the two species, which are either plankton or benthos feeders. Two types of Macroramphosus larvae and juveniles occurring at the surface were recognized, one having a straight ventral body profile of the body (identified here as M. gracilis) and the other having a notch in the anal region. The dark body of postsettlement M. gracilis is considered to be a retention of the character suited to the neustonic distribution of the larval and juvenile stages, the species remaining to ca. 40 mm in standard length (SL) in that habitat (vs. to ca. 12 mm SL in M. scolopax).